FOFri #37: All the Fluffy

The first project I spun on my Lendrum wheel was a full pound of undyed Falkland, spun up into a respectably squishy 3-ply with oodles of yardage. This second finished yarn? Totally different.

FOFri #37: All the Fluffy | Woolen Diversions

Thick-and-Thin Masham. Click for handspun page.

The fiber for this skein was the April 2014 shipment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl Club: 8 oz of Masham wool in the Indigo Dreams colorway. I first started spinning this on a spindle but wasn’t loving it, so I decided to give the bulky flyer of my wheel a try. I was spinning up thick singles for a while, but then I was inspired to give thick-and-thin art yarn spinning a shot.

I’m really glad I did, and I’m thrilled that I have a wheel that allows me to spin such vastly different yarns with ease. I spun until I got tired of the process and called it done. The skein is about 3.3 oz and 214 yards of bulky-to-sport weight yarn. I was pleasantly surprised by how evenly distributed the bulky bits seemed while I was winding this skein up. I finished it by plunging the singles into hot and cold water 3 times, and thwacking thoroughly. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well balanced the skein was after finishing. Singles yarns can easily contain too much twist without the plying stage to balance things out but this skein is just fine. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with it yet, but the finished yarn is much fluffier than I expected it to be, and I think a little loosely-knit cowl or kerchief will do quite nicely. And bonus, I still have lots of fiber and some bulky singles left to use in future art yarn explorations.

FOFri #37: All the Fluffy | Woolen Diversions

Garnet Tonic cowl. Click for project page.

I might just be done with my Garnet Tonic cowl, as well. The pattern said to knit to 48″ before adding the contrast color stripe and binding off/seaming. My cowl measured 44″ unblocked after I had just broken into the third skein and finished the 7th repeat. Since I have a tendency to overestimate cowl length, and since it is already feeling pretty heavy (2 skeins of dense yarn gobbled up), I decided to put my stitches on a lifeline and block it out now to see how big it really is before finishing. On the blocking boards it measures 14″ across and 48″ in length. Once dry I’ll try it on and see if I want to add an 8th repeat or not. Have you ever blocked a project before it’s finished to figure out proper size/length?

Advertisements

That’s More Like It

Happy Monday, all! I want to thank everyone who commented on my post last week. I really appreciate the words of comfort and advice offered, and just knowing that other people out there get it is a huge help. I made a concerted effort to remember the good things and enact positive changes, including taking a Kundalini yoga class, re-focusing my weight loss efforts, and just plain taking time for myself to… relax (how foreign). All told, it was a good weekend and all that relaxing meant I finished a couple of projects, too!

That's More Like It | Woolen Diversions

SG Zaftig, colorway Ghost Moth. Click for project page.

My good friends’ little girl turned 2 years old yesterday, so I thought she could use a pretty new hat. She is the only youngster that I regularly knit for since my nephews have proven to be less-than-in-love-with their woolens. The older one, Liam, refuses to wear a hat because it would ruin his gel spiked hairstyle, and he appears to have an irrational fear of vests. The younger one wore his vest when it was new, but has certainly grown out of it by now. Come to think of it, Logan might appreciate a hat… perhaps I’ll make him one. But in any case, Lyra is definitely appreciative of knitwear, as her mom is a knitter, too. I used the Troll hat pattern designed by Gabriela Widmer-Hanke and it is super adorable and straightforward. Lovely comfort knitting.

IMG_2395

SG Codex, colorway Devil’s Dictionary. Click for project page.

I also finally (finally, finally!) finished my Deep Dark Stellaria shawl, designed by Susanna IC. This sucker has been a WIP for about a year and a half (cast on August 2013). The shawl was pretty easy knitting for the most part, but I got delayed just 6 rows from the end due to a lace mishap that I didn’t have the mental energy to figure out, so it sat, and sat, and sat until this weekend when I just fudged a quick fix and moved on. I modified the shawl to be a deeper crescent shape by leaving fewer stitches between the wrap & turn instructions. This left me with 20 repeats of the edging at the end, and a butt-ton of stitches on the needle (read: 802).

Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuhn!

So it was all the more frustrating when my KnitPicks Harmony interchangeable needle broke in the middle of the last row before bind-off. Luckily (or unluckily?) this had happened once before so I had a spare needle tip of the same size lying around that I was able to use to rescue the dropped stitches and soldier on. And then, during the bind off, I ran out of yarn. Luckily, I had some blackish-blueish scraps of the same yarn leftover, so I bound off the remaining stitches with no problem.

That's More Like It | Woolen Diversions

Not my best blocking ever, but I was out of pins.

The funny thing is, when I went to add the project to Ravelry I realized that I actually had four skeins of this yarn stashed and the shawl definitely didn’t use all four. (I need to weigh it to be sure.) Which essentially means that I have so much yarn that I stashed so long ago that I literally forgot what I had and my emergency yarn substitution was for naught. In truth, you really can’t tell the color difference in the bind-off, so that’s fine. And hey, now I have more of this yummy color to use.

So there you go, the Saga of the Stellaria shawl ends with a gorgeous piece of fabric and hopefully some proper FO photos coming soon. These projects represent the first two that I’m counting towards the Verdant Gryphon 12 in 2015 challenge on Ravelry. You can count up to 3 pre-2015 WIPs and choose to make either 12 projects or use 12 skeins. It’s a pretty laid-back KAL with no prizes or anything, just motivation to use up some of those stash skeins you forgot you even have.

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace

Even though my entire weekend was filled to the brim with knitting-related events at Slater Mill’s Knitting Weekend, I feel like I’ve hardly accomplished any knitting this week! Here are the results of my weekend knitting:

Woolen Diversions

Swatches from classes. Ignore how unappealing and unblocked they are.

The top swatch is a mini version of a Shetland-style lace shawl that we worked on during Gudrun Johnston’s Shetland lace class. I have not finished knitting on the border because my needles fell out so I decided I’d gone far enough. Besides, I’ve already knit a couple of shawls that employ a Shetland-style construction: my Aestlight shawl (designed by Gudrun) and my Rock Island shawl (designed by Jared Flood). Both involve garter stitch bodies, lace borders, and edgings knit perpendicularly to the body. It’s a fun way to make a shawl, I recommend giving it a shot! Gudrun has a new Hap shawl class up on Craftsy, too, which I bet is great (check her blog for details).

The bottom swatches show a couple of the textured cables that we talked about in Thea Colman’s Playing with Cables class. This class was super interesting as it had a roundtable discussion / workshop feel to it. She essentially explained her creative process, demonstrated how to start coming up with designs featuring cables, and how to manipulate cables in subtle ways to make them do interesting things. It was really great to get to know Thea a little bit and hear about her process. Plus, now that I’ve seen so many of her designs in person, I’m itching to knit them all.

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace | Woolen Diversions

VG Zaftig, colorway Kiss of Cabernet. Click for project page.

So I started one. My original plan for this wine-red yarn was a Filemot shawl, but after I started it and messed up the stitch count in the first repeat a few times, the project quickly lost its charm. I also didn’t like the way the yarn felt in all of the twisted stitches. Instead, I cast on Thea’s Tonic Water cowl and am loving it. The lace is simple to work but complex enough to be interesting, and the yarn is creating a beautiful fabric. I’m excited to add the accent color, which will be the pale purple colorway used in my Lucy Hat. (Color coordination makes me stupidly happy, can you tell?) It’s kind of funny that the first Thea pattern I chose to knit involves no cabling at all. However, as the Fiasco noted, the lace in the pattern is essentially cable-shaped (twisting around itself), so there’s that. All in all, I’m psyched about this project. My quarterly goals are intended to fill gaps in wardrobe and/or to use up specific yarns, so swapping out a shawl for a cowl pattern is still playing by the rules in my book. (Also check out my new stitchmarker’s! They’re from Lisa’s new Etsy shop, The Knitting Artist.)

WIPWed #78: Cables and Lace | Woolen Diversions

Instagram bobbin shot.

As for spinning, I’ve been working my way through the final few ounces of the same Falkland wool that I used for my ply experiment. I had 17 oz to begin with, and have just about 5 oz left. All that white wool is starting to feel a little endless, and I’m itching to get some color on the bobbins, but I’m persevering!

I almost forgot to show you my Knitting Weekend loot! I received two skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (a Rhode Island company!) as a welcome gift, purchased some cute buttons and a hook gauge from a fellow Rhode Island spinner and knitter who runs the Katrinkles Etsy shop, some fun speckly yarn from Julie Asselin that I gave away in a gift swap to a very yarn-worthy friend, a lovely blue-green gradient from Play At Life Fiber Arts, and (last but not least) two gorgeous, undyed skeins of Cormo/Alpaca/Silk DK weight yarn from Foxfire Fiber & Designs. I’ve got ideas brewing for all of these new additions, but I’m really trying to stick to my goals… Sigh. Discipline is the worst!

What have you been working on this week?

2015 First Quarter Plans

Last week we discussed the knits I finished in 2014, and the intention words around which I’ve chosen to focus my year. I also mentioned needing a ‘plan of attack’ for my WIPs and yarn stash. For the stash, I’ve ruthlessly gone through and and either donated or put up for destash all of the skeins that I don’t foresee using anytime soon. (If there’s anything in my regular stash that you’re interested in, feel free to inquire as well, I might be persuaded to let it go.) For the WIPs, I’ve decided to split the year up into quarters (3 month chunks) and have listed a 5 ‘new’ projects (began since Dec 2014), 4 sock WIPs, and 3 other WIPs (projects begun prior to Dec 2014) to work on each quarter.

Woolen Diversions

Knitting plans for Jan – Mar.

 

Let me tell you, when you only allow yourself a certain number of projects to knit at a time, it really forces you to choose wisely! I’ve given careful thought to the yarns I want to work with, the variety of projects I like on my needles, and the finished objects I’m anxious to wear to sort out my lists. I have not planned out every new project through the entire year, but I did assign all my WIPs to each quarter so I will at least be required to either finish them or frog them at some point soon. The above photo represents my first quarter knitting plans (minus 2 sock WIPs that I forgot to pull out).

New Projects:

Sock WIPs:

Other WIPs:

Phew! I bet you guys are sick of lists by now, but I have one more.

Woolen Diversions

Spin the Bin 2015

 

This year’s CTA Spin the Bin Challenge! The idea for this challenge is to pull out 12 ‘types’ of fiber from the depths of your stash, put them in a bin, and commit to spinning the whole shebang this year. This helps a spinner stay focused when the shiny, new, colorful braids are being too tempting. You only need to count 2 oz as one ‘type’ of fiber, so it’s easy enough to spread large bunches of fiber out over several categories, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t spin new fiber, just that you also commit to spinning up some of what you’ve had for a while. Here are my 12 types, many of which have been lingering in stash since 2012.

Spin the Bin 2015:

  1. Loop! Kermit Coordinate Bump – 5 oz
  2. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Rime – 4 oz
  3. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Canopy – 4oz
  4. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  5. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  6. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  7. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  8. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  9. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  10. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  11. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz
  12. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz

As you can see, I’m taking what are really 7 different fiber stash entries and spreading them out over the 12 ‘types’ for the year. There are plenty of other things I want to spin this year, but these bin spins are on the list because I don’t want to keep putting them off, especially the BFL cross locks. I’ve only committed to the minimum for those fibers, since I’m considering washing and prepping them by hand to be part of the challenge for me. Plus, I have a full pound of each and I’m not yet sure what I want to do with all of it, the goal this year is just to sample them.

And those are all of my lofty plans! If I manage to accomplish all of my first quarter knitting and the first three Spin the Bin goals, I will have used up 20 skeins of yarn and 13 oz of fiber. Not bad, right? Here’s hoping I can make it!

IS #81: Worsted Weight Shawls

Now that I’ve finished my Lucy Hat, I’m on the hunt for the perfect worsted weight shawl pattern to knit with the rest of this delectable wine-colored yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorway Kiss of Cabernet

So I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorites.

Woolen Diversions

My own photo. Click for project page.

I knit this shawl (Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn) way back in 2010 and I still wear it every season. Worked in Malabrigo Worsted, it is exceptionally cozy. It’s not a super wide shawl (with extra repeats mine blocked to 58″ wingspan) so when I wear it kerchief-style I like to secure the ends with a fun shawl pin (the wiggle one is my favorite), especially since thicker fabric doesn’t drape the same way as lightweight fabric does. I’m talking myself into knitting this one again… but let’s see what else is out there!

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright CatReading. Click for pattern page.

This one, Flourish designed by Rose Beck, has a very similar feel to the previous shawl, while being just a little bit lacier and more dramatic. It’s conveniently already shown in a deep wine color, too, so I have a pretty good idea of how my finished shawl would look! I’m really liking this one.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright KnitJaneKnit. Click for pattern page.

The Dane Shawl, designed by Jane Tanner, is a free pattern that has been in my queue for a long time. I queued it because its simple pattern repeat allows for modification in any weight of yarn, just choose an appropriate needle size and knit smaller or larger as needed! I would also like to give this more curved, shoulder-hugging shawl shape (vs. the traditional triangle) a try.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright tincanknits. Click for pattern page.

A similar-but-still-different shawl is Rosebud, designed by Tin Can Knits. The sample was knit in fingering weight yarn, but like the previous shawl, the entire shawl consists of one simple lace repeat that would be easy enough to size up or down for different weights of yarn. I think the rose motif would be especially striking in my wine-colored yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Photo copyright Owlish. Click for pattern page.

And now for something completely different! This beautiful shawl (Loie designed by Beth Kling) is asymmetrically knit from side to side in a textured rib that ends in a lovely cable and lace edging.

Woolen Diversions

Border closeup. Photo copyright Owlish.

Isn’t that border a gorgeous piece of work? It’s knit in DK weight yarn, but just up the needle size a bit and grab an extra skein for yardage insurance and I think it would work wonderfully in worsted. I would likely use some Codex yarn for this, rather than the Zaftig I have, because I like the way I imagine the silk blend would make the stitches shine.

And I can’t leave this post without mentioned this brand-spanking-new bit of loveliness:

Photo copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

This worsted weight shawl is Nacarat, designed by Hunter Hammersen. It’s part of her new collection, Curls, an entire book full of asymmetrical wraps/shawls. The book was put up for pre-order today (at a discount!) and the first 250 people to order get a little goody bag as well, so you know I’ve already bought mine. I can’t seem to NOT buy one of Hunter’s books anyway. There are a whole slew of patterns that I love but I’ll wait until I actually hold the book in my hands before a blab about it any more.

Do you have a favorite worsted weight shawl pattern, or do you prefer lighter weight accessories? What’s been inspiring you lately? Share with us in the comments below!

IS

FOFri #34: Double Whammy

You know it’s been a good week when you get to Friday and realize you have crossed off everything on your to-do list. THAT NEVER HAPPENS, GUYS. I’ve even finished things that weren’t on the list! Which is why I have not one but two finished objects to show off today. Although I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos: mornings are dark, the lighting is terrible, and it’s crazy hard to focus a DSLR when it’s on a tripod and you’re a few feet away. (Still learning with my new toy, obviously.)

Wine-y Lucy Hat:

Woolen Diversions

Blurr-tastic! Click for project page.

This hat is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite. Seriously. I love the yarn, the shape, the style, the fit… everything. The pattern is Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer. I really admire Carina’s designs. Her aesthetic aligns perfectly with what I actually want to wear, and her patterns are well-written and usually fun to knit. I’ve made her Regina hat, Whippoorwhill Shawl (which was a bit of a slog because it involved so many stitches but the shape is perfect and I wear it constantly), and no fewer than three Zuzu’s Petals cowls (and I’ve been itching to make another recently).

Woolen Diversions

Pre-finished, but shows the colors well.

I am really happy with my yarn choice for this project, too. I used Verdant Gryphon’s Zaftig (worsted weight 70% superwash Merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon), which is a nice round yarn with a soft hand from the cashmere content. The main color is Russian Sage, a nearly-neutral pale lilac, and the contrast is Kiss of Cabernet, a perfect wine color that I’ve been really digging lately. I was imagining the main color as more of a khaki tan, but I think the lilac is light enough to still be worn with a brown-ish outfit without screaming HEY GUYS, LOOK AT MY CLASHING PURPLE HAT, and it coordinates perfectly with outfits on the grey end of the spectrum. (Yes, I really do debate this much over whether or not things match. It’s important! Or OCD.) I will likely knit another of these someday in a different combo, probably involving teal.

Sweet Codex Shawl:

Woolen Diversions

Fringe-tastic! Click for project page.

These perfect skeins of silver Sanguine Gryphon Codex have been waiting to become a shawl for a long time… since 2012!¬† I waited and waited, changing my mind about a million times, wanting to use it for an intricate lace masterpiece (but having no time to actually knit such a thing). Finally, the need for a grey accessory became overwhelming and I cast on for a simple shawl that I had made before and knew that I loved.

Woolen Diversions

Makes a nice couch cover, too!

The pattern is Sweet November Knit Shawl by Caryl Pierre and it is the ultimate in stylish simplicity. It’s really nothing more than YOs, k2tog, and ssk’s combined with a fun little fringe. It’s epically wearable and looks great in both solid and variegated colorways. It can be knit with basically any weight and amount of yarn. I knit mine on US 10 needles (a bit smaller than called for since Codex is sort of in between DK and worsted weight and is rather slinky from the silk) and continued until I had 223 stitches on the needle (instead of the 171 called for) using less than 460 yards. I bound off on the WS with the recommended stretchy bindoff and added 33 fringes of 4 strands each. The shawl measures 66″ across (I like ’em big!) and 26″ down the center spine, not counting fringe.

Here are some horrible photos of me wearing it. I promise, it looks way better IRL.

I think that taking a little break from my NaKniSweMo project to finish these two accessories was totally worth it, don’t you? Plus, I have a road trip ahead of me this weekend so there should be plenty of knitting time to make up for my non-monogamous transgression (this is why I suck at KALs, y’all). I hope your weeks have been productive, as well, and Happy Friday!

WIPWed #71: Instant Gratification

As a knitter, you wouldn’t think that I’d have a deep love of instant gratification, since knitting is probably one of the slowest ways to create something. Yet, I do. I can only stay project-monogamous for so long before my fingers get itchy for something new and quick. Especially when lovelies like these arrive:

Woolen Diversions

The Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorways Russian Sage and Kiss of Cabernet

As I mentioned on Saturday, The Verdant Gryphon brought back my beloved Zaftig yarn (worsted weight MCN blend) and I just could not resist. Skeins were acquired, and swatches were  nearly immediately made.

Woolen Diversions

Swatches!

The top swatch was made with size 7 needles because I could not find the size 6 needles the pattern called for and of course, my gauge was too large. I finally did find my size 6 needles and made a second (slightly less enthusiastic) swatch, which was close enough! (Pattern called for 5 sts/inch, I achieved 5.25 sts/inch.)

Woolen Diversions

The beginnings of a Lucy Hat. Click for project page.

Hats are my absolute favorite instant gratification project, and normally around this time of the year I’m knitting hats like crazy for gifts. However, this one’s for me, and it’s going to be awesome.

Woolen Diversions

SG Codex, colorway Lioness of Brittany. Click for project page.

The project I’ve been (mostly) monogamous with is my Sweet November shawl knit with luscious, silky Codex. I know I’m going to love this thing like crazy when I’m done, it’s just not particularly engaging to knit anymore since it’s quite simple and repetitive. But that ball is shrinking quickly, so an FO should be in my future soon enough!

Woolen Diversions

Inglenook Batts. Click for handspun project page.

I took a little spinning break after Spinzilla, but have since picked up my supported spindle project here and there. I’m still enjoying this spin. The singles are so colorful and such a crazy mix of fibers that I’m really looking forward to seeing what it will look like plied!

Woolen Diversions

Spindle storage.

Over in the Spindlemania group there has been some discussion about how people store their spindles. The above photo illustrates my little spindle corner in the living room. If you look closely, you’ll spot two Turkish spindles on top of the tallest bookcase (one of the few spots in the house that Darwin can’t terrorize). Hanging on the wall are two colorful bags that each contain a top whorl spindle (my Golding and my Kundert) with their fiber. The small hanging bag holds fiber for one of my support spindling projects. Below the bags are my two support spindles and one additional top whorl stuck in a vase with glass beads to hold them upright. For traveling, my Jenkins Aegean and my larger Capar Turkish spindles each fit well within my Dakine school supply case (with shafts removed and with plenty of fiber).

How do you store or travel with your spindles? What do you do when the urge for instant gratification strikes?