Spring 2016 Goings-on

Back in April I began participating in a sock knitting KAL wherein you knit a pair a month, saving them in a box until you’re done. I’m not sure why I can’t just wear them when I’m done, but I love knitting socks so I joined. *shrug*.

April’s socks:

Plain socks

Just some plain socks I knit up in Dragonfly Fibers’ Super Djinni sock yarn. I was knitting a lace pattern at first but it didn’t show well at all, so I just went straight to plain stockinette. It’s the perfect go-to for variegated yarns.

May’s socks:

Aradena socks for Biggest Beanlet

Aradena Socks, by Tinksdarkerside. I knit these in this gorgeous Cascade Heritage Prints in Roses. I kept getting lots of compliments on this yarn, and I’m looking forward to knitting myself a pair in this. These will go to Biggest Beanlet this Fall.

Currently, June’s sock WIP: 20160604_121356

The Don’t Cage Me In Socks, by Heather Kinne.  The yarn is some wonderful yarn called WonderSock by Gale’s Art in the colorway Stoney. Love, love, love.  These are actually supposed to have the lattice patterning on the back of the leg. I’m not doing that though: it turns out(and I knew that, I probably just forgot!) that moving stitches from needle tip to needle tip  is impossible when knitting both socks on the magic loop at once. I was away from home and without a second needle when I realized this, and was unwilling to put the project down(I was #waitingroomknitting) and so I just decided to knit the back of the legs plain. NO harm, no foul. I’m pretty much Team 2-at-a-time-socks these days, so I’m reluctant to knit them one by one.

The Aradena socks were knit one at a time and I have no idea why. Usually, I guess I’m just on autopilot and don’t want to deal with SSS(second sock syndrome). These socks are currently further along than in this photo. In fact, they’re almost done! 😉  Stay tuned for an in-the-b0x shot of the first three pairs!

 

In spinning news, I finally got Dutchie fixed!! My poor spinning wheel had all sorts of issues: noisy, shifty footmen, a missing tension spring(I’d been making do with fishing line and rubber bands!), and the list goes on. I went to spin a few weeks ago and the footmen had completely dry-rotted and broken. After some quick research, I was able to get all the parts required to fix the wheel up and I have been spinning!

Falkland Wool from Into The Whirled

What you see here is some Falkland wool I picked up at Rhinebeck 2012 from Into The Whirled. It had been sitting on the wheel since I started spinning it a few years ago, when I started having serious issues with the wheel, which caused me to stop. I tried desperately to pick up where I left off, but nothing I did would allow the singles to take up onto the bobbin without breaking off. Then,  just my luck I’ve lost the end of the fiber and can NOT find it. So I started a new bobbin with the rest of the fiber(on the left), and am currently plying it.  It’s not the softest yarn( neither the Falkland nor the unknown undyed fiber (Could it be Cotswold or Romney?) I’m plying it with are soft fibers, but hopefully a good soak will smooth things out. One can only hope!

What are you knitting/spinning these days? Hit me up in the comments!

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No Snark Today, Just Spinning (NaBloPoMo day 3)

So. I thought about ranting about all the crazy surrounding Hurricane Sandy and a lot of people’s ^%$%#’d up comments surrounding it, but  I’m certain that conversation will have been beaten like a dead horse by countless others, and I really don’t have anything new to add to it. So, spinning.

I got my first Turkish spindle back in 2008 at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Though I do prefer using a wheel I do from time to time just want to spindle. When I learned that Turkish spindles produce an automatic center-pull ball I just had to have one. I got that first one from Fessler Spinning and Weaving and have spindled almost exclusively with it.

Earlier this year, however, I noted how small the spokes were and how I couldn’t really get a whole 4 oz. of fiber onto it. Having seen other Turkish spindles with much longer spokes, I set my mind on getting a new one. One of my awesome VKC ladies told me about a wood worker who she convinced to make spindles, and before I knew it, I’d received one. I’ve been spinning with it the last couple days and I’m really enjoying it. It’s very lightweight, spins real fast, and with 5.5 inch spokes I’m sure I could about 4-5 oz. of fiber on it in one go.

Right now, I’m testing it with some merino dyed by yet another VKC chat buddy. You can’t really see it(perhaps I should have photographed the thing before I put fiber on it?) but one of the spokes has a deep pocket where the other spoke slides through it. I was told I might have a bit of trouble getting the singles/yarn off the thicker spoke, and with a tiny sample I did. I’m thinking now, though I might not have any issues with it.

With tons of fiber to spin, especially for larger quantities, the wheel is my go-to method. But after not having spun it for a while, I spent a few hours treadling like mad and wound up sore in the glutes like you wouldn’t believe. So, spindling is the order of the weekend for BeanKnits.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend. What crafts are you up to?

TTFN!

NY Sheep and Wool–part 2!(The Haul Edition)

Despite the crazy that was Hurricane Sandy, October had been fairly good to me. Most years it is, because it’s my birth-month.  This year in particular I got spoiled like nobody’s business..

My Virtual KnitChat girls gifted me at every turn for my special day,  and some of us got the royal treatment at Rhinebeck as well. Knitters are some of the most generous people in. the. world.

While browsing the offerings, I did purchase a few goodies such as:

Finn fiber from Point of View Farm

1 lb. of Finn! I love me some Finn! I haven’t had any since Rhinebeck ’08, from Misty Mountain Farms. I went by their booth this year but they only had top, not roving. Bah. During a second pass-through on day 2 of the festival I found a vendor selling nothing but Finn products. Score! I will be sure to find them next time.

Little Barn haul

Another old stand-by that I did manage to get lucky with was Little Barn. I always make sure to stop by their tent and I was not disappointed. I’ve never spun Coopworth before so this will be my intro to it; 8 oz. total, plus 4 oz. of random dyed wool (maybe Corriedale?)

More goodies!

Then I scooped up 4 oz. of Falkland fiber from Into the Whirled and an oz. of Suri Alpaca with sparkle from Still River Mill. I’ve never spun either of these breeds so I’m really looking forward to them. Into the Whirled actually had a similar colorway all dyed into one braid but I chose the separated version so I could stripe the yarn myself. It finally occured to me why I sometimes get disappointed with the results of pretty colorways spun up: short color blocks get ‘muddied’ when they’re spun and plied; with separate color sections you can spin them end to end and navajo ply them for striped yarn. I’m hoping to spin the Alpaca on a hand spindle to get a really thin single. I spindle park-and-draft style so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Now, for the surprises(I told you knitters were awesome, didn’t I?):

Batts!

A mystery bump from Still River Mill and the infamous Loop Bulls-eye Batt! I’m guessing the ‘mystery’ part is the colorway, as the bumps were labeled as Alpaca and Merino. *shrug*. I’d heard a few things about the Loop batts, but never really considered buying one. I actually finished spinning up the singles last night to Navajo ply another day, and I swear pulling the fiber out of the middle was like a fiber-y clown car! There appeared to be 4 different colors but there were actually 5! I like big batts and I can not lie! ;). I will do a proper review of the spinning once it’s all done.

Merino fiber

Last but not least, almost 8.5 oz. of lovely pastel ‘clown-barf’ Merino fiber. I don’t know. All I did was look at it, put it back and 10 min later it got laid in my arms. Weeee 😀

So there it is!! Truthfully though, I could have left Rhinebeck empty handed and it still would have been a great time. I got to hang out with some of the coolest people I know: Yarnies!! 😀 Thank you ladies for an awesome time! I am truly blessed!

TTFN!

Knit-Chat Alphabet Knits 2012

Aran Twist Socks

The lovely ladies of the G+ Knit Chat and I have begun a year-long project whereby we are going to start/work on/complete a project based on a corresponding letter of the English-language alphabet, every two weeks. Started on New Year’s day, which was conveniently on a Sunday, and I’m now working on “D”. The rules are somewhat up to interpretation, such that we can alter project names to suit.

The socks above are my “A” project. The Aran Twist Socks were a heck of a project, mostly because I kept messing up and having to restart. Annoying as heck but user error for sure. Nice simple pattern that I would likely do again. I did a different heel than what’s listed in the pattern but the main thing is the top and leg of the foot right? 🙂

Next up is my “B”. I had originally thought of the Buttercup Tunic (Ravelry link) sweater but that pattern is a disaster, IMO. I read through it to familiarize myself with the construction and couldn’t make heads or tails of why it’s constructed the way it is, so I changed my mind and went for a Tappan Zee Sweater, renamed ‘Bridge Sweater’ to fit the project. So far, not bad. I’m already done with the knitting. I opted to make it into a pullover instead of the cardigan it’s designed as. Not sure if that was a good idea, or if I just used a not-very-good choice of yarn because it bloomed like CRAZY with blocking. Instead of buttons I will be adding in some ribbon to cinch the neckline and button band. Whoops.

Then there’s “C”: the Caroline Hat. Caroline Hat

This needs a ribbon and I already bought it, but you know me, procrastination galore here in Chez Bean. I bought it the same day I got the ribbon for the Bridge sweater, so at least I’m on something of a roll in terms of acquiring the embellishments. I’m sure I’ll get it done before Fall. 😉

Finally, I’m on “D”. First, understand that projects are NOT required to be finished within the two weeks, just that it should be the main thing I’m working on.

'Da Age of Brass and Steam shawl

I’m knitting The (‘Da) Age of Brass and Steam next. It’s all in my own handspun. Some of the fiber is pre-dyed Grafton Fibers Merino that I picked up in a buying frenzy when I first learned to spin back in ’06. The rest is some undyed Merino that I dyed myself, with Koolaid the following year. I’m just now getting around to using it. I’m sort of on a stash-burning quest in the process of completing these projects. Kill two birds with one stone, or something like that.

Eileen is next on the horizon, though, guess what? She’s done! Except for the zipper, which makes things easier, but I’ll likely throw in a secondary “E” project for $hits and giggles. We’ll see..

TTFN!

Whoops! or, Crash and Burn

That’s basically how things have been going with the spinning lately. I’ve missed a few days in the TdF. But apparently I missed more than that. I somehow mislaid a bit of the fiber I was spinning and thought I was done with it. And I also seem to have forgotten how to Navajo ply.

I think that’s why I put off finishing that little bit that remained. Because I knew I couldn’t remember how to chain ply. And I also had forgotten that singles which are going to be chain plied need to be tightly spun. Every attempt I made at getting into a groove failed because the singles would unravel and drift apart. Sigh. Add to that the fact my lazy kate is untensioned and it’s a recipe for disaster. I have decided I will have to add the extra step of winding that singles off into a center-pull ball so I can Andean(2-ply) it instead. 😦

Do I make up the gaps by spinning through the second rest day? Or do I continue with the socks I’ve been working on. There are some changes with them too.

Socks on the loop

I started out with the Java socks pattern but that wasn’t working out. With this alpaca yarn, you can’t really see the stitch pattern all that well, so I’ll just keep on with the 2×1 ribbing. I’m going to run out of this yarn before I get to the toes, so I’ll be using some other yarn to finish. They’ll probably spend all their time not being seen(except in an FO photo) so I’m not really worried about them being perfect. But the effort involved in making them according to the pattern would be totally wasted if you can’t even see it.

Due to my epic failure in spinning this evening, there are no fiber photos. So I’ll leave you with the Lower Manhattan Skyline, as seen today from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Lower Manhattan Skyline

TTFN!

A day late and a bobbin short…

HelloYarn Merino wool for Tour de Fleece

Every year, there are special fiber-craft events going on. Lacevember(and NaNoWriMo, for everyone) in November, Socktober in October, various Mystery shawls, and Tour de Fleece which is held during the Tour de France cycling event.

This will be my first time participating in TdF. I don’t have any specific spinning goals; I’m simply using this to get back into spinning. I admit I did get in over my head trying to spin an adult sweater’s worth of yarn(2 years ago) and that frightened me a bit. But I’m back in the swing of things, so to speak.

TdF began yesterday July 2nd but I’m starting today. No goals, remember? 😉

I’ll be spinning some lovely HelloYarn 100% Merino gifted to me by MUAKnits. YAY for crafting friends, huh? 🙂 I love HelloYarn fibers, so she must have read my mind because it couldn’t have come at a better time. Alors!

Leap of Faith

It’s been a crazy past week or so. Over a week ago I got some terrible news. My Godmother had passed away unexpectedly. I was in no way ready for a funeral, emotionally or wardrobe-wise. Mary was always impeccably dressed at church and I felt I could NOT step into that sacred place looking like crap. But, life goes on and it got in the way of me making a full outfit to wear. I did manage, however to squeeze out a new skirt. I needed something long to cover my legs since it’s Winter, but simple enough that it wouldn’t drive me nuts. After those graduation dresses last year I felt like I could sew anything. But still, I was afraid of screwing it up. I’d gone down to the wire, with last-minute attempts to just buy a skirt but none was to be found.. So sew I did..

black(blue!) skirt

That’s a quick shot on the train platform on the way home. I wasn’t really in the mood for photos(obviously) but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to get a picture of the skirt before the sunlight was completely gone.

Details:
Pattern: Simplicity 3827 in size BB
Fabric: some random blue(I’d mistaken it for black when purchased, perhaps) cotton/lycra blend from the 50% off room at Paron Fabrics
Notions: black(and some blue thread, see below!), elastic for the wasteband, size 90/14 sharp sewing machine needle.

Overall this was a very simple skirt pattern. I never had to look at the instructions and scream, “WHAT?!”. It’s a 6-gore skirt in two lengths and I chose the longer of the two. For the Spring I may go with the shorter. The pattern pieces for the skirt were just two but I’d need to make two cuts from each section on folded fabric to get the extra sections. I took the time to trace copies so I could lay out all the pieces and pin once instead of pinning, cutting, removing the piece and then pinning and cutting again.

About 2/3 of the way through I ran out of thread in the bobbin and went to refill it and got this:
Bobbin gone to hell...

I just sat there staring at it for a good 10 minutes. I didn’t give up though, kept right on going, thanks to a lovely bobbin with navy blue on it. That ran out too, but the next time I went to refill with black it went off without a hitch.

I will definitely make this skirt again. It was worth the effort and time challenge, despite the circumstances which caused me to need it in the first place.

In knitting, I also took a leap of faith with some handspun yarns I’ve had in the stash for a while. So long, in fact I couldn’t remember what the fiber content was or where I got it. After some thought I’m confident it’s a wool/silk blend, but I still don’t remember when or where I got it.

Winter Tam 2010

The fact that the yarn was a silk blend combined with a 1×1 ribbing was not a good idea for this hat. It’s already all stretched out at the brim, but I’m not sure if a soaking would help it snap back into place. I decided to knit another a bit bigger and in some 100% wool, this time some Merino 64s I got and dyed back in 2007. A week and 3 tiny skeins later:

All together now--Flickrtoys mosaic

I like this one better. The color is more accurate in the shot with the flash.

Details:
Pattern: Laura’s Floppy Beanie(pdf file)
Yarn/Fiber: Handspun Merino 64s (don’t remember where I got it from), dyed with Orange Wiltons food coloring
Notions: 3.25mm and 3.75mm circular needles with the magic loop method

Again I’m really liking this hat more than the other and it will see some serious use this winter. I thought I had a lot of the yarn around to maybe make matching mitts or something but I guess not. I do have a little left over but it’s probably not enough to work with.

That’s all for these few weeks; we’ll see what I can get into next!

TTFN