TdF 2018 Progress… Or, oh $hit what just happened?!

 

There I was, minding my own business when out of nowhere:

Awww $hit!

my Headcase went straight to hell in a yarnbasket! My niddy noddy decided to tell me to piss off and part of the skein slid off the flat end. Of course everything fell into a tangle of yarn and it was beyond saving. Luckily the yarn community is full of very kind, generous souls and a newer, better niddy is on its way to me soon. I don’t know when I’ll have the courage to try and untangle this monstrosity, but it won’t be anytime soon. Life’s(and TdF!) too short to play around with unruly yarn.

Which leads me to this:

Wensleydale and Mystery fiber

Remember the Wensleydale I was spinning up last time? Turns out, only ONE of these skeins is Wensleydale, apparently. I started out with what I thought was 8 oz, after I weighed what I’d found on one bobbin together with the REST of the unspun fiber that I knew for certain was Wensleydale. My old brain farts alot and so I don’t remember if the bag was already open or not. It DID appear to have some fiber missing, which is why I thought the already plied fiber was from that bag. So I spin the ‘remaining’ fiber, weigh it all up and the total is 10.5 oz!! I know I accounted for the bobbin’s weight (which is negligible), so that doesn’t add up.

Then I got to looking at the first yarn and realized, it’s a bit scratchier, and darker than ‘the remainder’. So I’m guessing that’s not Wensleydale after all. Add in the fact that I’m still missing a bobbin somewhere and who knows WHAT this fiber is? I added all the fiber that I KNOW is Wensleydale, minus that skein and it’s only 7.25oz. Sigh. Never a dull moment huh? Final yardage and WPI tally will occur when I’ve finished plying the rest of the singles. So far though, I’ve got 353 yards of Wensleydale and 179 yards of who-knows-what. Probably a DK weight but I’ll have to check.

Mystery Brown Fiber

Moving right along! This mystery fiber (that’s apparently a theme around here), is 4 oz and approx. 145 yards of DK weight. It’s very soft to the touch. It was a gift to me and the giver didn’t know what it was either. Oh well. It was quick and fun and I wish I had more.

Next up on the wheel is this gorgeous purple/white combo from Little Barn. I swear I need to stop buying from them because most of their best fiber isn’t even categorized. What is this fiber?? I wanna say Corriedale, but I could be wrong. It’s just labeled, 100% Fine Wool. Sigh. It’s coming out really fine, alright. I’m gonna try and 4-ply this bad boy and get some mittens out of it. 4oz, though there’s another 4 of the same color. I doubt I’ll spin that the same way.

Purple Little Barn Mystery Fiber

Beautiful, isn’t it? Monday 7/16 is a rest day in the Tour de France, so we spinners also take a break. This gives me a chance to rest the singles(and my spinning muscles!) until I’m ready to ply on Tuesday. Also I get to browse my stash and figure out what gets on the wheel next! Plus there’s knitting to be done for the FiberPunk/Grianaig Creations Destash. I’ve yet to post about my progress but that’s coming up later this week!!

 

What are you working on??

Please comment, like and share!

 

Happy Crafting!

Tamara 🙂

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Craft-a-Longs Galore!

It’s finally Summer! That doesn’t stop me from yarn crafting, though. I just have to change up WHERE I’m working to get stuff done without heatstroke.  It’s going to be a scorcher this first week of July and I would easily mosey myself down to a local pool to cool off, but the call of yarncraft is a bit stronger.

Two big crafting events either going on now, or about to start are: 1) FibrePunk/ Grianaig Creations Destash-a-long (FPGCDestash) and 2) Tour de Fleece (TdF) 2018.

The FPGCDestash started yesterday 7/1/18( Oops, I’m late!) and continues for 6 months, until 12/31/18. That’s PLENTY of time to use up yarns and finish up WIPs that have been languishing in your stash or WIPs pile since the beginning of creation. I’ve got one main knitting WIP right now (Starting Point, by Joji Locatelli), but I have a few #MakeNine2018 items still to be done. So long as I don’t keep adding things to my ‘wannamakenowmustmakenow’ list– I’m looking at YOU Sock Arms– I should be set with projects for the rest of the year. 😉  So head on over to the Grianaig Creations Podcast page on Ravelry for  more details and to join in the destash fun!

Also going on for 3 weeks in July, from 7/7 to 7/29, is the annual Tour de Fleece challenge, which coincides with the Tour de France cycling tournament. This will be my second attempt at participating and I’ve got my work cut out for me:

neglected bobbins

Between bouts of spinning startitis and having issues with my spinning wheel I’ve managed to leave a bunch of bobbins in various stages of progress. The tour starts in 6 days and I have to somehow empty these bobbins without losing any singles. For at least two of them, I can’t even tell you what fiber I was spinning. I know what’s going on with the yellow/greenish color in the middle, and I may use that to test-spin/ply until the actual event starts. The fullest bobbin is what I started of some Wensleydale top I got from Little Barn eons ago. The speckled fiber on the left, I have NO idea about. I have seen some unplied singles in a bin I’ve been storing handspun in, but I don’t think I have anymore of the unused fiber left so I’ll probably just wind that off and ply everything sometime after the tour.

And there you have it! Join one or both of these yarn craft events and show your progress! Find me here, and search #fpgcdestash or #TdF/ #TourdeFleece on Instagram for more participants photos.

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!

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!

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