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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It Didn’t Happen… (NaBloPoMo Day 21)

Of course it didn’t. I wimped out. I got the shoulders seamed on the boy sweater and that’s about it. I really don’t like seaming. Of course, there’s a mess of work to handle if you knit in the round and it has its own issues. Ah well. I think he’ll be warm enough with a regular sweat jacket and his coat.

 

What did happen was I solved the mystery of the clunking footman. After last night’s fiasco concerning getting the hex screw out, it started clunking again. To make a long story short, something had to be removed. Granted, the item in question was supposed to be on the wheel but not where I’d put it. It wouldn’t FIT where it’s supposed to go, which is why I put it where it wound up. But it’s gone now and things are moving much smoother without it. Now to solve the bobbin rattle…

 

So, I got to put some more work into the lavendar Little Barn stuff. It’s a fairly easy spin, if a bit rough. This won’t be socks that’s for sure. It was suggested I make felted slippers. Perhaps, but I was thinking more along the lines of some sort of bag, or pouch for a tablet. I could really use the slippers though. But my bad luck with felting garments to fit scares me away.  Sigh, decisions..

 

Time for relaxation and mental prep for Thanksgiving with the (out)laws. 😉

 

TTFN

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!

What Can I Say? (NaBloPoMo day 6)

Not a lot of crafting got done today. Too emotionally stressed today. The Presidential Election just drains me.  I’ve mostly managed to internalize the insanity surrounding this election and could move through the daily routines smoothly. Some days were  harder than others. I don’t know what the future holds. I think that sucks the most.

 

I went out to vote early this morning and brought along a sock project, expecting ridiculously long lines. I was, instead, out of there rather quickly and had no time to cast on the Jaywalker socks I was planning on. I did manage to cast on a Terzetto hat, and do a few rows of ribbing, but part of me just wasn’t feeling it. Hoping I don’t lose my mojo before my current WIPs are complete.

 

That spinning project I showed the other day has to come to a halt. One of the spokes of the spindle is designed in such a way that it makes getting the singles/yarn very difficult to get off of it. I spun a good ounce of the fiber and after tugging every which way, risking losing the leader end of the yarn, I decided to wait until the spoke can be replaced. At least my wheel will get a little exercise again. There are some other sets of singles that need plying and I’d already broken my promise to myself to get those done before starting anything new.  To make matters worse I have another 4 oz of hand dyed fiber coming my way soon, and I will have to resist the urge to spin it first. Sigh.  I’m still waiting for those 10 pairs of arms…

 

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!

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!

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!