Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dilemma and Guilt

I have a Guilt ridden dilemma that I need to get off my chest. I am so conflicted!! In the first place, I want very much to buy yarn at my local yarn stores (Knit On in Newport Kentucky & Fiberge in Mongomery, OH). I feel lucky that I have 2 shops that are no more than 15 minutes away, and they carry just about everything I could ever want in terms of yarns and books, etc.

But....And here's where my internal conflict kicks in....I love playing with yarn, not just knitting/crocheting it. I love spinning it, skeining it, balling it up, reskeining if it's been balled too long and on and on. I even love spending hours unknotting yarn that has gone wrong!! Call it OCD, call it whatever you want, but I know there are others out there like me.

I've recently found another way to extend my "playing with yarn" through recycling old sweaters. I knew, deep down, I would love this, but I was trying to resist because .....Insert guilt here.......I was not supporting my local yarn stores if I was not buying yarn from them.

So I'm not sure what to do because I don't get as much enjoyment from yarn I purchase from a yarn store than from yarn I have either made myself from scratch or yarn I recycled from a "Goodwill" sweater. Also, I feel good about the fact that I am recycling the yarn.

So, I will need to wrestle with this guilt for a while. I will continue to think about ways I can support my yarn stores and still play with my yarns.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Knit-vs Crochet. Knit Designers Have it Easy!!

I don't like the fighting between Crocheters and Knitters. Like one is inferior to the other. And why isn't weaving in this fight....

I like both Knitting and Crochet. But I've come to believe that those who are primarily crocheters, are hurting the craft by trying to do the "look at me too" soap boxing. I understand the soapboxing. When everything in an industry is serving only 1 side of that industry, knitters not crocheters in this case, then crocheters need to ask for what they want from suppliers....repeatedly!! And we must purchase those things that we ask for - Vote with your Dollars.

Are Crocheters insecure about their craft? I don't think so. So what's the problem? Is it that Crochet designers find that they make less money than Knit designers. Well, maybe this is the nature of the knit designers. As I look at crochet patterns I see alot of "me too" products. That is, Crochet designs that try to look like knit designs. And generally speaking, They look inferior to me. But why?

Let's think about this...we have been taught through years of conditioning, that knit and woven fabric is what is used to make clothing. This is because industry can do this on machines and crank out bolts and bolts of it. We like what we are used to seeing/wearing, etc....I get that. So, when a crochet designer makes a sweater from a single crochet stitch, it looks "odd" to me. It doesn't mesh. I don't want to wear it.

For me there are 2 factors that make this worse.
1.) Crochet fabric, no matter what stitch is used, appears to look like upholstery fabric. The idea of wearing a garment from upholstery fabric, Okay, yuck.
2.) Most designers use worsted weight yarn for their designs. In my opinion, this is why the design fails again. In industrial produced garments, worsted weight and bulky yarns are not common place. Combining this with the fact that crochet looks like upholstery fabric, now it's actually as thick as upholstery fabric, makes it something no one wants to wear.

I believe that crocheters would spend just as much money on their craft as anyone else, if they were given products and designs that were something they wanted. I don't think they want a crocheted version of a knit sweater. I know I don't. I want something that is uniquely suited for the crochet fabric.

As I see it, Knit designers have it easy. The industrial revolution taught consumers to like knit fabric for garments. So all they have to do is design garments. Crochet designers have to be even more imaginative than knit designers. But the sky is the limit!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

EcoWool Dyeing

The Eco Wool that was once bright yellow is now a lovely shade of Blue Green. Now I have to decide what Sweater I want it to be......

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Dye-ing Adventures

So what does a single girl do on a Friday night....Why, dye yarn she has been hoarding in her stash for years!!!
I've had this light blue yarn, I bought on Ebay, years ago. It is a brand called Tuna. It is not a super soft yarn, but it would make a great felted bag. The original color was a very pale blue. I decided to over-dye it in a dark blue. The most common color in my wardrobe.

So I went at it with some RIT dye (as I cannot wait to order proper acid dyes), some old pans I got at a garage sale, and my basement sink. I've experimented with dyeing a little, so I know the general procedure. I have to say the color came out exactly as I wanted.

Pay no attention to the junk on the shelves. Wow, I need to clean those shelves off!

It was a bit of a struggle to dye the 5 skeins. Hats off to the Indy dyers who do large lots of 1 color!! You are my heroes!!!

There was so much color left in the sink water.. I thought, what the heck, I have 4 skeins of a bright yellow Cascade EcoWool (another rash bidding effort on Ebay). Let's dye that too.

Do you know how heavy and bulky 4 skeins of EcoWool is????......when it's wet! Well, Ii do, now. I think it went about 15 pounds. I had to carry the wool downstairs dripping wet (because brianiac here, couldn't soak it downstairs as I had a sink full of blue dye from Dye Job No. 1). But as you can see it's in the sink.
I put the bags on top of it to be sure it was all submerged into the dye solution.

This is the experiment yarn I threw into the dye when I was doing the Tuna yarn. I'm hopeful the yarn is going to come a out this dark shade of Olive Green with some blue and yellow undertones.

This is much better than the Screaming Yellow the yarn was originally. The yellow was not a bad color...just nothing I would ever wear, and I have more than 1600 yards of this stuff...It's crying out to be a sweater from A Fine Fleece or an Alice Starmore gansey.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Fall To All

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about my last blog post. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.

Things have been very busy in my household. My son started his Freshman year at University of Charleston (WV). There was so much to get done to get him ready. But he is doing great there so far.

I've also changed responsibilities at work. I've been in the same group for about 12 years now. I work for a very very large consumer goods company, and I am a perfumer. I'm staying in perfume, but I am changing assignments. I'm now working in air fresheners, candles, and all those types of products. I'm excited. It's a very fun area to work in. I was working in Beauty products (shampoo, antiperspirants, creams, etc) for about 15 years. I think the change will be good. It's just alot of work now.

I've been a very scattered in my project work. Usually, I am very monogamous to my projects. But lately, I am staring all kinds of projects and not just knitting. I found a book called 200 Braids to Twist Knot Loop and Weave. I think it is so cool. I want to try all these braids and twists. And I have no clue what I would use them for right now.
I'm thinking about crochet projects and I just started the Long Cabled Vest in Lion Alpaca Yarn. I've already got the fronts done and I am 1/2 up the back. But I am itching to start 2 other knitting project, This drops design and this Caron pattern.

Also, I'm itching to spin more. And use some of my Handspun on some hats and cowls

See, I all over the map these days. I find that when I am like this, it is best to start every project that stricks my fancy. Naturally, I will stop working on the projects that I really am not interested in, and put more time into the ones I find most fulfilling. You know, some projects are just more interesting in your head. It goes back to the saying: "Do what you love" But sometimes you have to try a bunch of things to figure out exactly what you love doing, right?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Go Home and Hug Your Kids

Today, my son went to the Funeral of a high school friend. The boys had grown apart through high school. They went different paths, but my son always said, Will was doing okay, when I asked if he ever saw him.

I remember a young boy about 12 or 13, happy, full of life. Two months ago today, I watch him walk across a stage and accept his diplomas. These young adults I watched going through this right of passage we call Graduation......they all have so much ahead of them. Good times with their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, children. I saw them happy.

I do not understand what happened. How could a boy with his whole life ahead, with so many people that cared about him...his mother, step father, sister, friends, see only darkness, see only loneliness. To see such despair that he feels there is no other thing to do but lift a gun to his mouth and pull the trigger.
I am praying for you, Will.

Go home and hug your kids and tell them that you love them no matter what.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spinning is over - for just a bit

Well, The Tour de Fleece is over. I really am proud of how much i did spin. By no means a huge yardage as I was working on a spindle but I did spin everyday for at least 1 hour.....Well, except for Sunday. I decided I wanted to knit instead.

I spun:
3 oz of lace weighed 2 ply superwash merino/alpaca (~200-300 yards)
2 oz of fingering 2 ply colonial wool (Corriedale top) in blues/greens/browns (~180yds)
DK -light worsted 2 ply blend. I ply is brown Shetland and 1 ply is wine corriedale. I called it Black Forest Cake. ( about 200 yds)

All in all I spun on my spindles a total of 1360 yards of singles. I feel pretty good about that!!! But best of all....I did not buy any fiber during the tour. I spun all of my stash except 4 oz of BFL, 3 oz of Merino/alpaca and 2 oz of the blues and greens corriedale. I want to finish these before September because, that is the Youngs Dairy Fiber Festival where I buy alot of my fiber. I can, guilt-free, buy anything I want there if I've spun up all the fiber I purchased last year. This is my overall spinning goal for this summer!!!!

As for knitting during the tour. I started and finished my summer socks by Cookie A AND I started Undulating Rib Sock and finished the second sock last night!!
Undulating rib Paton stretch

I completed them in Paton stretch sock yarn in plum. Just looking at the yarn I wasn't too impressed, but I really love how it knits and the socks it made!!! I like it much better than Cascade Fixation. Fixation is just too thick for me.

I've also cast on the Town & Country scarf from Knit Picks Elizabeth I pattern. It is a Christmas gift for a friend. I am doing it in Caron Spa because I made her a scarf in Classic Elite Miracle. It was the softest yummiest scarf. But of course, this yarn irritated her skin (she does have weird skin problems). So, I promised I would make her another scarf in a yarn that would not irritate her around the neck. I figure that Bamboo and Acrylic should be safe!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tour de Fleece Update and Sock Knitting

Tour de Fleece - Day 14
I've stalled a little, but I will say I am on goal. I guess I was just overachieving the first 10 days. Since the rest day, I have spun every day for 1-2 hours. I'm working through my stash fairly well. So I will say this week has been a success, even though I have nothing to post on the Daily Ravelry thread.

Cookie A Summer Socks

I have finished my Cookie A Summer Socks in the Serenity Yarn (by Premier Deborah Norville line). They came out very nice. I almost got 1 pair of these socks from 1 ball(230 yds). I think if you cut down the number of repeats, 1 ball would work. I may remake them in a anklet-style sock for my daughter. I will definitely have enough left over yarn for that project

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tour de Fleece Day 9 - Man, I need a Rest

Well this weekend of spinning has kicked my butt. I have definitely worked hard and did more than I ever thought I could!!. I started working on the Black Forest Cake yarn on Day 6. I pushed my self to get all the singles spun so I could ply it this weekend. I thought the plying would be fairly easy, but it took forever. I think all in all I stood and plyed for about 4 hours straight. And I got it all plyed onto 1 spindle.
Black Forest Cake

Abby Franquemont posted how you can really cram up your spindles if you need to. Well I can verify that. This is 9 inched long. and about 10 inches around!


Once I skeined it out I figured about 200 yards of sport weight (10 WPI). I read of a technique where you run the singles over an hook on your ceiling and then down to your spindle. This helps to tension the singles.
Here I am showing you how I put my spindles into a shoe box with holes on each end so that the spindles can unwind the yarn.

Note here I am playing the singles together. See how the yarn goes from the spindles in the box to the ceiling hook and then down to the spindle.

This makes it amazingly easy to keep the singles from twisting on themselves and getting tangled!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 6 Keeping it up

DAY 6: Wow I have really been dedicated to this spinning thing. I've been completely inspired to work on color combos. Hummmmmm....what might be next:

I think Black Forest Torte:

The Dark Brown (almost black) is shetland and the raspberry color is colonial wool. I think these 2 colors could ply up very pretty together. I'll keep you all posted!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tour de Fleece Day 4

I think this is the most spinning I have ever done in one stretch. It is slower with the spindle, but I love the portability. I've been spinning on my back porch and plying there too.

The plying paddle makes spindle plying very easy. The one shown here is from Down in the Country Spinning. I think you could easily make one, but I don't have any wood working skills, so I opted to buy one. I also have the Rakestraw spinner, but I like using the playing paddle with my drop spindle. I really hated Andean plying with the spindle until I got the paddle.

And just for the beauty of the colors:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Prepping for the Challenge

I'm getting my fiber ready for my trip. I'm starting my spinning on the road. But that's okay, I'll just have more time to relax and enjoy the spinning. I've had this colonial top for about 2 years. Very lovely. I bought it when I purchased my first spindle. I worked on the boring cream color that I also purchased then so I wouldn't ruin this pretty stuff. I'm not saving the nice stuff anymore. I'm going to use it. If I mess it up, so what.

So this is the fiber.

I spun a little up to see how the colors were working together. I actually pulled some off the end and blended it a little more. I think it gave it more of a green cast. I prepped the rest of this top by pulling apart length-wise. I want to keep the colors more intact (less blending). We'll see if this makes a difference in the yarn. This yarn sample was Adrian plied on itself. I haven't set the twist, but it is very well balanced. I find that I can really control the balance of the twist when I am plying using the spindle.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tour de Fleece

I've joined the Tour de Fleece. Yeah!!!!! I'm so not a joiner. Always afraid I will disappoint someone (exactly who, I don't know...) But I decided come on..Spinning is great, and I love watching the bikers in those tight shorts. Okay call me a cougar (Meowww)

Anyway. Here is the training work I have been starting on. I've spun up some shetland wool that I got last year at the Yellow Springs Fiber Festival (at Youngs dairy). I decided to try my hand at playing with it as a single ply. I thought that crocheting with the single would work out fine, and it seemed to be great!

I made a doily...well it was going to be a hat, but did too many increases. I found out that the only problem with crocheting with energized singles (wool!!) is you cannot rip out very easily. It just kept sticking to itself, and I did not want to break the thread......So a lovely wool doily was the most obvious other option.
100_5414Sorry this picture is a little fuzzy, but you get the idea.

I also worked on a funky edging pattern using this single ply.

spider crawl swatch
I call it Spider Crawl. I pinned it to my lampshade by my bed. It looks really cool. I may work out a pattern for a lampshade out of this pattern...We'll see.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Life Life Life

Well, I've taken a break from blogging and from Ravelry updating too. I've spent alot of time knitting and crocheting, but I have not put a picture up or talked or written about it anywhere.

My son is a senior this year, and we spent the beginning of this year visiting colleges and applying for scholarships, etc, etc. Wow!!! it has taken some dedication from both of us to make the decision of which school to attend!! But he has made his decision. I expect the summer will be fun filled getting everything ready for his first year.

Since it is March (National Craft Month) I should try to update as much s possible. So my goal is to update my Ravelry page and my blog with as many of my projects that I have finished and started. Some I gave away for gifts, so I may not get everything, but there are many just waiting to be seen.......