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!

Proof of Knitting….

Not quite proof of life but it’ll do. 😉

52/365--Back to Basics

With winter coming I had to get on the move with some new handknit accessories. You need something around your neck in these cold Northeast winters but I got tired of arranging and rearranging scarves. Cowl time! I just wanted something simple to start with, something I could use up some leftover KP yarns. I got 4 wildly different colors of Palette together and just ran them one behind the other.

I hit a roadblock with the way the top droops and I’m going to fix that before I show a FO picture.

I’ve also been putting some inches on the sleeves of Eileen, after pinning together the body to get a better sense of how I’m going to work the sleeves. Thanx to a very kind and smart knitter I learned the sleeves would have turned out WAY too big so I ripped and restarted. They’re almost to the arm caps as I type this.

55/365--Eileen WIP

I’ve also got a scarf and hat set going for Littlest Beanlet. They’re being done in undyed wool, so I’m going to dye them all at once when they’re done. I’ll see what color is her favorite this month. 😉

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!

More Deadline Sewing

Though I love sewing, I really need to get out of deadline/last-minute projects. I keep finding myself doing that. But the tasks at hand are done. Take a look:

PJ Pants-Done!

Boy and Girl Beanlets PJ pants. Biggest Beanlet will also get a pair from the same flowery print. These two needed theirs TOMORROW so I had to crank them out first.

The ‘pattern’ was simple enough. I got the idea from Instructables.com to just trace around the pants. I may have seen similar instructions elsewhere in the blogosphere but I don’t recall where right now.

Home made pattern

It was very easy, though I will make sure to cut a longer rise next time. The kids are happy and they’ll have t-shirts covering them so I’m happy too.

There was a moment of trepidation when I saw I’d have to stretch out the waistband to get accurate measurements, until I realized I could just pin it stretched out on my trusty blocking board:

Pinning out the waistband

The tracing was probably the hardest part, other than selecting fabrics. I’m a female with 2 daughters and I kind of got carried away with the girly fabric purchases. Hence I had to use a thrifted bedsheet for Boy Beanlet’s pants. They kind of look like hospital scrubs, heh. He thinks they’re really cool and that’s all that matters.

I’m not sure about him, but I know Littlest Beanlet will be so proud to tell everyone, “My Mommy made these!” 🙂 That’s my girl.

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

Third Time’s a Charm

Mittens for Big Beanlet

Actually this is the 4th time I’m knitting this mitten pattern. Last year I made a pair for Littlest Beanlet and she got a new pair again this year. But before I finished hers I had some issues with gauge.

At first I didn’t remember this was the pattern I’d used and therefore forgot what size needles I used. The pattern calls for a 6 or 7 needle and I usually knit worsted yarn on 7s. But as I went I noticed it was turning out bigger than reasonable for a small child’s hand. Sure enough, I was WAY off gauge. Rip Rip Rippity Rip. At least now I know I can use the pattern as is with 7s and get a size for ME. 🙂

So back to the drawing board and in a day or so little Beanlet had her new pair of mittens.. And a hat to match!

Mittens and Hat Done!

She’s been telling everyone who’ll listen that “Mommy made me some mittens!”. I just finished the hat yesterday so I’m sure she’ll brag about that too, now. So next up is Big Beanlet’s set and everyone is good. I’m thinking though, that since her hands are bigger I might not get a hat out of the remainders so I’ll probably incorporate some handspun into hers. 🙂 Gotta use it sometime, right?

TTFN!