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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Nothing To See Here…(NaBloPoMo Day 16)

So I’ve gone and done it. Started another Harlequin Hoodie, this time for me. I chose more ‘mature’ colors, like brown, black ,tan and off-white. I did start with yellow in the mix but ultimately the yellow got taken out of the options. I can always use it for something. Hmm.

 

In spinning, I’ve gone back to the Fessler spindle again. I just decided to suck it up and accept the smaller output. Since I spin  predominantly feltable fibers I can just spit-splice ends together whenever I run out of singles. Not exactly my favorite way to handle that, but it’ll do.

 

Still plugging away at kid sweaters, little by little. At this rate it’ll be Summer again before they have them in hand. 😉 Then I’ll have an excuse to put them aside for later work *evil grin*. Nah, I’ll get it done. Soon.

 

I’ve also managed to finish 1 of the recent e-book purchases, “Hilda Hopkins, Murder She Knit”, by Vivienne Fagan.  It was an enjoyable read, though I wish it didn’t end so abruptly. Well, you get what you pay for, right?  This afternoon, I started “White Heat“, by Paul D. Marks. Another enjoyable read, though the dialog can be a bit… slow. I hope this one resolves more completely. In fact, I’m going to end this post now, and find out!

 

 

TTFN!

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!

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!

Tour de Flop

Yeah, I said it. Flop. I didn’t come close to doing the spinning I thought I would do for the TdF. I can’t even use the heat as an excuse because I could have just put the wheel in my cool room and kept on going. What happened was, I just got sidetracked by the sock knitting.

TdF Gestures awaiting bath

This is the only completed skein of handspun I can show from my TdF efforts. And, it’s not truly complete because I haven’t set the twist. Lay-Z.

The sock knitting, though, isn’t without its efforts. I’ve been knitting socks on the Magic Loop since I started knitting back in 2004. It had been a while, actually before I’d even knit anything on DPNs because I didn’t like the fiddly-ness of getting the needles set up. (I’ve long since gotten over than and can use DPNs now, with no problem.) Most of my socks were knit on the loop.

A few times, though, I’ve knit both socks of the pair on the loop and every time, I’ve had to stop knitting on one of the socks in order to complete the heel. When doing the short rows, or turning a heel flap, you’re leaving live stitches on both needles, which means the tips are not free to work on the other sock until you’ve finished working the rows/turns. So, for that portion of the project I have to slow down to one at a time. Bummer. Overall, though, I think it’s still faster than knitting the socks start to finish one by one, and it helps to combat the one-sock-syndrome I’ve dealt with in the past.

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon here in the pressure-cooker that the US has been this past week, so I’ve been reluctant to work on any sewing. There’s NO way I can get the tables and machines in the cool room so that’s out. Hopefully in the next week or so it’ll cool down to near normal again..

Well, my Roasted Herb Chicken and Potatoes is smelling good, so I’m off to check on it and get back to the socks.

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!

Just Doing It.

That is kind of how I feel about my latest craft projects. Other than baking for special occasions I’ve been contemplating practicing my baking a little more. I’ve always farked up whole wheat bread. It was always hard, and flat. Nothing I tried worked. But recently I read something about “vital wheat gluten”, which is supposed to help wheat breads rise better. I’ve yet to actually try it but hopefully sometime this weekend I’ll get around to it.

I did manage to make some banana bread, though:
Banana Banana Bread

from this recipe.

I’m thinking I should have added that 4th banana in there. Some of the reviews do indicate that extra banana would improve the moisture but I didn’t listen. Or perhaps the addition of baking powder may have something to do with it. In previous incarnations, with a different recipe the bread was always kind of flat and that one didn’t call for baking powder either, so I figured that was the problem. This loaf is somewhat taller but not by much(I’m starting to think other people are using a smaller pan than my 9×5’er, which could mean nothing I do will yield a taller result). Oh well, it’s still very good, even if a little on the dry side. Nothing a hot cup of coffee or tea or a glass of cold milk won’t fix.

In knitting I’m also slowly starting up. Oh I’ve knit the occasional hat or mittens or some other whimsy but one of the things I’ve been wanting to knit more of is sweaters for ME. Sadly, though, I’ve been quite reluctant to do so because of the four disasters in my knitting past: namely, the felting of my Cheesylove pullover, the shrinking of my beloved Central Park Hoodie by my MIL, and the fact that I ran seriously short of yarn for the handspun Heather Hoodie. Not to mention, the failure of kiddo’s Basic Black.

Eileen back

Enter Eileen. I just decided to jump in and do it. Of course the decision was facilitated by a sale at Michaels. 😉 I went with a bold color that I love and so far the knitting is going ok. I was a little uneasy with the shifting charts; if you look at the back photo you’ll notice there is a center panel and two side panels. The side panel chart only has 6 rows but the center one has 8. The first repeat of the two charts started out with the same rows, only to have me start the side panel chart AGAIN before finishing the first repeat of the center panel. And there I was thinking I’d print the charts on the same sheet of paper and use one long strip of highlighter tape to track the rows. Sigh. Oh well. I guess I could still print them together since they’re small. But it hasn’t been a major hassle yet.

Now, while I did enhance my stash for this project I have been working from stash I already had.

Crochet Box

I had 3 balls of Lamb’s Pride Bulky laying around, seemingly forever, and decided now was the time. The other day I just started crocheting these rectangles, not even knowing what I’d do with them. I just needed to be doing something with my hands. My son came in the room and asked if I was making a box. I looked at the panels and just decided, yeah, I’m gonna make a box. And I did!

I’ve read that crochet is harder to felt than knitting and I’m seeing this may very well be true. I would have thought with the yarn being a single ply that it would felt lovely but, the crochet won out. You can still see some of the stitch definition. Also the finished item isn’t as sturdy as knit felt would be. There’s no way that box would stand up to the spindles, but this is even floppier than normal; everything is actually sitting in a hard plastic bucket the kids got a few Halloween’s ago. Eh, it works, right?

I hear Eileen calling so I’d better go see what she wants.

TTFN!