FO: Purple People Warmer

So, you know all the lessons I learned from my Apricot Jam Ring?  You can read all about it here, but basically I learned about the importance of a good warp separator, not tugging on my warp, not beating to much and how to make selveges look tidy, oh and actually doing the warp math properly so you know how much yarn you are acutally going to use!

So I took all these lessons and applied them to a new scarf, this one made out of some bulky yarn hanging around in my stash that I knew I was never going to knit because I am really not a huge fan of variegated yarns (although as I mentioned I am warming to them thanks to my Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?, although that is just for socks).

I must confess, I am quite pleased with myself and the scarf because it worked and I’m starting to see the possibilities that this little loom holds within itself and my stash.

– Details –

Project Name: Purple People Warmer

Pattern: Plain Weave, 5dent reed

Recipient: Dunno, I may actually put this in the gift box because while I like it, I see more of these in the future

Yarn: Fleece Artist Big Merino (discontinued), 1 skein Purple, 1 skein Purple/Green/Brown

New Skills:

  • Doing things right!: Basically there were no new skills, I just managed to get the skills I learned last time right.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: It is too bad this yarn was discontinued, it would be great for weaving more Christmas scarves, at $8.99 for 100gm/100m it was a really good deal.  But I think this was a noble use for the last of the yarn.

Re-Weave?: I really like the way the scarf turned out, if I can find a comparable yarn there will be more of these scarves for gifting.

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FO: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Four months, four pairs of socks.  I’m still on track to complete 12 pairs of socks in 12 months.  After the complex cables of my Staked Socks these were a nice shift with the subtle patterning and interesting color shifts.

 

They did turn out a bit small, I think for a 64in sock I need to be using a 2.75mm needle more often than not.  I find that all the different Merino Nylon sock base from my fave Cdn dyers seem to be pretty similar so I’m not surprised that I use similar needles for all of them.

So I have cast on for my next pair, I will be doing lace which is again a nice change from the plain, cables and texture of the last three months of socks.

– Details –

Project Name: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder from Dreams in Fiber

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Fleece Artist Trail Socks in Sugar Plums

Modifications: None

New Skills:

  • Different Gusset Pick-up: I was reading the new Simply Sockupied eMag and Ann Budd had a cool technique using an extra DPN to twist the picked up gusset stitches, which for me resulted in a bit of extra work but a really attractive “seam” with no gaps.
  • TAAT Magic Loop on a 32″ needle: I didn’t have a longer one and I tried to do Two Socks on Two Circs and it made me want to cry so I figured out how to do two socks to 1 circ. It has inspired me to get 40″ circs to do my TAAT socks as 47″ is a bit too long feeling now.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I am quite impressed with how Fleece Artist does a multi, while it did swirl around the leg both socks striped identically and the slipped stitch heel looks really amazing.  My aversion to multis is being reduced thanks to this yarn.
  • Pattern: Nice, clear, simple and free.  My only issue is the author doesn’t tell you how long the toe is at gauge.  Although the shape is really nice and now that I know how it works I may use it again in future.

Re-Knit?: Nope, although I may steal the toe for a default top-down pair of franken-socks (ie. my default sock made of parts of all sorts of different patterns).  There are way too many socks out there to make the same pair twice.

CanCon: Yarn Edition

Hey SweetGeorgia, your yarns are always so wonderfully saturated.

For anyone who has lived in Canada, you are familiar with the concept of CanCon.  For those of you who haven’t spent much time in the True North, might not know that all our radio and television stations must play a designated amout of work by a Canadian each day (the percentages are dependent on location and type of stuff the broadcast).

Based on very cursory internet research (and by that I mean Wikipedia) it seems this number can range from 25% up to 40% of content on radio and 60% on television (although news shows count so most primetime is American shows).  On the radio the CanCon is hardly noticeable we have so much great Canadian music, and we send all the annoying ones to the US (you can thank us later for Celine Dion, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, and Justin Bieber), on TV it can be a bit more painful although recently CBC really has been bringing up the average with Little Mosque on the Prairie, Being Erica and Republic of Doyle (which just got a 4th season pickup, which is awesome).

What does this have to do with yarn?

Hello Sweetie! Gotta love the indigodragonfly yarn colors and her great names.

We have so many amazing Canadian yarn dyers, both indie and artisnal, that going forward (and this has been in place for most of 2012 already) I want my stash to be CanCon-ed.  I want to make sure that I am supporting the amazingly diverse range of dyers and fiber producers here in Canada. Between Handmaiden/Fleece Artist in Nova Scotia to Sweet Georgia in Vancouver and in between Tanis in Montreal, Kim in Haliburton, Emily in Toronto, Lisa in Barrie, Hasmi in Banff, Kirsten and Melissa in Vancouver  and so many more I haven’t discovered yet.

One of the 2012 Year in Colour yarns from Tanis Fiber Arts

However, I couldn’t go 100% Canadian, there are too many cool indie dyers in the States that I would miss like bohoknitterchic, Gale’s Art, Winemakerssister and Wandering Wool (who I haven’t actually ordered from yet, but her stuff is so tempting) and the rest of the Phat Fiber crew who are working in their corners of the earth on amazing yarns and fibers.

Some of the colors at Northbound Knitting are just so deliciously complex.

And sometime KnitPicks has exactly the yarn you need for a project, and Felici, I do love my Felici.

So I am going to try to buy mostly Canadian yarn, I will tag projects that are either made with Canadian dyed yarn (or a pattern by a Canadian designer) with the tag CanCon. Let’s see if I can do better than the local stations and bring my CanCon up above 60%.

Nothing like a fresh off the bobbin single of a beautiful BFL from Viola in Toronto.

Either way I will have help with this,  I am currently signed up for three different yarn clubs, the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club (which is still accepting signups and you will get all the previous months in your next shipment), indigodragonfly’s Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 Skein Club (there may be 6-mo slots in the fall, if not the next round of signups are in Feb 2013) and the latest one is Sweet Fiber’s Super Sweet Summer of Sock, Vancouver Edition (which there are still spots in for the the 3 month club, which ships May, June, July).

And it isn't just yarn, we have amazing fiber dyers too, like Two Sisters Stringworks who made the braid just the right colors for Lake Huron/Georgian Bay.

Also, I am headed to the Downtown (Toronto) Knit Collective big show, Knitter’s Frolic next Saturday (the 28th) so I will get to check out and sample all sorts of new yarns, bases and dyers at the show, and meet some of my other dealers (ie. Kim and Tanis face to face).

Just like the latest CBC shows, CanCon yarn is a great thing and I am excited to keep it a major part of my fiber diet.

WIP Wednesday: April 18th

I had a fairly busy weekend so not much fiber art-ing happened, and there have been no changes to the stole or spinning in the past week.  Both the socks are coming along although they need to speed up considerably for either pair to be finished by the end of the month. I have 8 of 12 repeats done on the cowl and so that should be finished up in a night or two of focused work.

I am nearly done with the cloth I have on the loom right now.  I am finally getting my selvages looking good and balanced between sloppy and too drawn-in.  I totally messed up the warp tension on this, however I am pressing on and learning the proper techniques (note to self, don’t finger comb the warp before it is tied onto the fabric beam and get a better warp separator).

At the very top are some rolags I made this morning with the hand cards I picked up many moons ago.  I downloaded a whole bunch of Interweave videos this past week, one of which is the How I Card video that highlights 4 different handcarding techniques.  While watching the video I finally got the nerve to break out the handcards and some Cormo fleece I got from bohoknitterchic and start carding.  I am really loving the rolags and I will probably be swapping out my bobbins so that I can start spinning them.

I have heard rumors it is going to be a nasty weekend so I may get some good hands-on fiber time and finish up a few projects (and maybe start a few others, my tatting showed up on Monday).

Check-in on Year of Socks

April, January and February

So back in January I committed to making 12 pairs of socks this year, now that we are in April, 1/4th of the way through the year I though I would check on my status.

With the completion of the Staked socks a week ago I have managed to finish three pairs of socks, however, not quite by the end of March.

I do have two more pairs on the needles and one of them should be done by the end of the  month. But both are nice plain socks, after the tiny twisted cables on the Staked socks I need some nice easy socks.

April Fancy & Purse Socks

So I am on track, with the latest pair of purse socks and fancy socks, I should be fine, but my list of patterns have been blown completely out of the water with the release of such amazing sock patterns all winter, like The Knitter’s Curiousity Cabinet by Hunter Hammersen and also discovering the trove of sock patterns hidden away in the nooks and crannies of Ravelry.

At the rate I am making socks, it would take me 4 years and 7 months to get through all the patterns I have in my queue (and not counting plain vanilla socks) .  And to knit all my superwash fingering weight yarn into socks would take about 3 years.  Yikes!  I guess I need to get knitting.

A Year of Socks?

My first pair of socks for the year, and my adorable cat who was very curious about the fact that those socks didn't have her fur on them yet.

So, when I was setting my goals for 2012, one thing I wanted to accomplish was to set myself an unreasonable goal and really try to hit it.   My recent discovery that I love knitting socks and my bucket full of sock yarns gave me the idea that I might want to do 12 pairs of socks in 2012.

I know many people set out the patterns they want to do by month and I have started doing that, however I am not “declaring” my patterns and my yarns, as I have changed the order and pairings pretty well every day since I decided to do this.  However, I will say that my Pomotomus Socks that I am making for the TFA2012KAL (and if you notice I have changed the pattern since setting out those goals less than a month ago) are my January Socks.

You will be able to keep track of my socks, as I will be tagging them so you can find them in the top bar.

I think I have selected my February Socks as well, they are likely going to be the Hermione’s Everyday Socks made out of Fleece Artist Trail Socks in Sugar Plum.  These textured socks don’t have too much to get lost under the dark multi yarn.

Socks for House Elves?

No wait, I want to make Staked by Glenna C, using the November Cranberry colorway from the TFA 2011 Year in Colour Club.

Red is a good color for vampire slayer inspired socks

Oh no, I started a pair of vanilla socks in KnitPicks Felici Sport back in December, I should probably finish those first.

Stripey Socks are Extra fun

Decisions, decisions!

FO: Winter Hat

So after projects just dragging on forever, I decided I needed a warm hat and quick knit.  My sister had been talking about these amazing hat patterns she had found and the one called Autumn seemed to fit the bill.  Jane Richomond, the designer of the hat, has some fantastic patterns and you can tell she is Canadian because the hats are both functional and attractive. I find so many of that hats designed by people in places where a hat is more of a fashion accessory than a necessity are never long enough or warm enough to be useful to me. This one is warm, well fitting and fun.

My attempts to get photos of the back of the hat on my head

I managed to get these shots on Tuesday, the one sunny day I managed to be home from before the sun went down, and even getting home at 4pm the sun was nearly gone.  The one thing you might notice in these shots is a distinct lack of snow.  We have been having a very atypical December, every time we get snow it is gone within 3 or 4 days because of warm weather and rain.  Its not clear whether we will have a white Christmas, something that has people here out of sorts.  I’m fine with no snow, I spent most of my childhood in Pennsylvania and Texas where a white Christmas was special in the former and improbable in the latter.

A better shot of the top

Overall, a great hat designed by a Canadian, by a Canadian out of Canadian yarn.  I am really enjoying wearing it and it will still be perfect once the snow starts accumulating.

– Details –

Project Name: Winter

Pattern: Autumn by Jane Richmond

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Fleece Artist Big Merino in purple

Modifications:

  • Increased the number of cast on stitches to make the hat denser and warmer while still fitting.

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn:  Very soft, but very easy to felt.  This yarn will makes a big, warm … something, but I wouldn’t use it for mittens because it doesn’t feel very abrasion resistant.  I am seeing big bulky cowls and nice warm hats.
  • Pattern: Nice short pattern. Very clear and well designed.

Re-Knit?:  Very likely.  I like having a nice warm hat and this one is great.  Although I would likely make mods and try different stitch patterns on the hat portion.

FO: Mountain, Sea and Rainbow

 

My wheel hasn’t been seeing much attention recently.  Over the past few months I have finished a few different yarns.

Sea - Merino/Silk (50/50), n-ply worsted spun, 50gm, 60ish yds, worsted-ish weight

I have been trying different techniques, and I think I am starting to get a handle on chain-plying (also known as Navajo or N-plying).  I used this technique on the silk/merino blend I picked up a year ago from The Purple Sock in Coldwater.  It was a 50 gm combed top from Fleece Artist.  The color was amazing, but like with the purple top I got from them at the same time I found that the way it was packaged meant a whole bunch on both end were really felted before I even began.  Also, being dyed up in 50gm units, make it tough to actually get enough yardage to make anything.

Rainbows - Polwarth, 2 ply (fractal) semi-worsted, 4oz, 160yds, worsted-ish weight,

By contrast the combed top I got from Gale’s Art, an indie dyer from Georgia, (I love her stuff and have stashed quite a bit of it in the past year), came nicely packaged, easy to draft and a dream to spin. This one was a Polwarth, dyed up in a colorway called Spring Fever.  Gale keeps it around with her luscious BFLs (have some of those) and her Alpaca/Silks (which I don’t).  I found it was easy to spin a semi-woolen yarn, something I have not had much success with yet.  This one I tried a fractal plying technique.

I couldn’t find a good explanation of fractal plying, so I pieced the notion together from references on Ravelry and a variety of blogs.  Basically, when you have a combed top you make sure each bobbin has color changes at different rates.  This is accomplished by making thinner strips, which makes the color switches happen faster.  There are mathematical ways to do this, however I just split the roving until half was significantly thinner.

Mountains - Merino/Tencel, 2-ply (fractal) worsted spun, 4oz, 120yds, worsted-ish weight

I fractal plyed both the Corrie and the Merino/Tencel top I got from bohoknitterchic, and I found the color distribution worked better on the Corrie, however, it ended up giving a nice effect on the Merino/Tencel.

After having such a stickey, lofty fiber like the Corridale, I found the Merino/Tencel not as much fun to spin.  I spun it worsted to highlight the shine of the tencel in the top.  After trying different breeds I find myself drawn more towards the more rustic longer wools for spinning rather than soft, fluffy merino.  I like knitting with Merino, but I enjoy having a connection to the more rustic, sheepy heritage of spinning and yarn.

If you want to know more about sheep breeds and what that means for spinning and knitting check out The Knitter’s Book of Wool, it is a great resource that I have raved about before.  However, if like me you want to know more, check out the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. This resource is amazing and has more information about fleece bearing animals around the world that can be imagined.

After the craziness of the last few weeks I am hoping that Christmas (no Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada *pout*) will afford me some time to sit down at my wheel and get my hands on some fiber, because they are itching for it.