Saturday, August 28, 2010

Post 100!!!! Really?? WOW!!!

I cannot believe this is my 100th Post. I'm really glad I decided to record my work this way. It has really helped me to look back and the things I've made...The Good the Bad and the Ugly!!

I Got Skills!!
I'm not sure what it is about fiber crafts but my whole life, I've been able to spend 5 minutes watching someone do them and Presto....I seem to be able to just do them! When I was about 8-9, I watched my grandmother crochet and I just started crocheting. I don't remember if anyone really taught me to knit. I recall that a girlfriend had learned how to knit in home EC and was making a pair of slippers. I told her I wanted to make a pair with her. And I just did. As I recall they were made from Screaming yellow Red Heart Yarn!!
As far as I know I never picked up knitting needles again until I started knitting a pair of Stranded mittens in the round for my daughter about 12 years ago.

This is how my spinning experience has gone a well. About 3 years ago, I purchased a drop spindle (Schacht Hi-Lo Spindle), I watched some folks on YouTube spinning, and I just started doing it. This is my first ball, BFL.

Ever since, I've been able to get a consistent thin thread and really nice yarns (But I have used lighter Drop Spindles to get thinner yarns.)

So Now comes the wheel. I was so intimidated by a wheel. Everyone told me it was easier than a spindle, but I thought....come on!! The spindle you control everything. NO ratios, no brakes, No uptake speeds. Just spin.. Draft....Roll on the yarn.
But I do love spinning, and as most of you know, I plunged into the wheel. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Majacraft Rose. I tried so many wheels -all in 1 day. So I had a fairly good overview of how they all felt. One caveat, I was not able to spin on a Schacht Matchless. Which I have heard is really nice as well. I did spin on a Lady Bug...It was just okay for me.. Nothing spectacular.

The wheel spinning has been so much fun. I started with what was most natural to me. Worsted spinning with top. After 1 month of spinning I was able to make a 3-ply, 20 WPI (lace weight) superwash merino yarn....WTF!! I thought spinning fine yarn was supposed to be hard!!!!!

Last night I decided that I was going to try spinning woollen style. Now, from all the podcasts and experienced spinners I listen to Jasmin, Meghan, Shiloh, etc..... This takes Practice! I expected this to be the most difficult thing I had done in quite some time.
I did my usual. I went to YouTube and watched about 3-4 videos. I learned how to set up my wheel, how to best prep the fiber for easy woollen spinning, whether you have top or carded roving. And then I went at it.
I had some Shetland roving ( Carded) that I thought would work great, but I had pre-drafted some of it, but I decided to just fold over the predrafted stuff and spin fro the fold and it worked GREAT!!!!! Woolen spinning is so FUN! I thought that woolen yarns were always fat and underspun, but I got a nice single, Not too fat and fairly consistent- not too slubby just a little think this as you can see. It looks like the single will be about 15 WPI, And it is feeling squishy on the bobbin so I think it will e squishy one it's plyed.

I've always joked that in my previous life, I must have done all these fiber related things because my hand and body just seem to know what to do to make it all work out.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Sewing & Project planning

I have been back to some quilt sewing. It seems that many people around me are having babies and i can whip out a baby quilt in a weekend. I find this more efficient than knitting a blanket. And it's something I don't have to worry about if it will fit!

I got this one done. It needed to complete to be completed by this weekend for the shower. It took me 3 days. I forgot about the the immediate satisfaction you can get from a sewing project. I used the Eleanor Burns method of using fusible web to applique the fish. Her method is really a great method, but it was a bit fussy because the fish had some tight spots. But once I got the fish turned right side out it was simple.

I also finished the second quilt top, because it was using up the same fabrics with just a few changes. But this time I decided that the applique was not necessary. I still have one more, but i have not decided on the colors yet. that will be this weekend.

Knitting update:
Since I have finished the swallow tail shawl (No, I still have not blocked it yet!) I've gone back to knitting on the Baltic. Before I put it down earlier this summer, I was right at the point of where I had to split the front and back and start the back and forth knitting. So this week, I got the front yoke and one shoulder done. My goal now is to complete this sweater by the end of August.

The also finished the Linen/Rayon Shawl/baby/lap blanket (what ever you want to call it). It's just in straight stockinette stitch. So it was totally mindless and somewhat boring. I decided to complete the edging using a crochet chain stitch. The one where you crochet 4 knitted stitch together and then chain 4-7st, repeat. It used up all my yarn!!

Planning the Next Sweater:
This is the exciting part....well sort of. I am starting to think about what my next sweater project will be. I have about 3 more quantities of sweater yarn that I want to use up. Universal Worsted Tonals (Variegate blues tones), a recycled Alpaca Merino yarn in brown/gray variegated color (Sport weight). A chunky Maroon/wine colored.

I also have 2-4 more skeins of various colors of Cascade EcoWool (but I've already knit with these yarns, and because I don't done have enough of 1 color to do a sweater project, I will need to figure out how to incorporate a second (and maybe third) color into a sweater. Too much thinking for now!

I'm leaning towards the Corduroy (Lisa Lloyd - A Fine Fleece) in the Universal Worsted Tonal yarn (blues). A nice simple sweater to showcase the yarn. Another sweater is Rhinebeck in that same book with the same yarn. It has a little bit more patterning, and I could use a cardigan. I've been a bit on a pull over rampage this year. I feel I could really motor through the corduroy with worsted weight yarn.

The final sweater this year may be the Flyingdales in the recycled yarn. I found the sweater in a thrift store last winter. Really nice yarn!! And the perfect weight for me. Nice and thin about a light sport, I have not measure the WPI or done a swatch yet though. I got about 2000 yards too!!

By the way....Total yardage knit this year 6000 yds!! That is 3.4 miles!