sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

saved by stash

Amidst secret and not-so-secret holiday knitting (grandma afghan status: 2.5 panels of 4 done)... I managed to forget to make something for mom. Now, okay... see, last year she asked for (and received!) the merino-silk Hanami stole I knit, so I wasn't really thinking as far ahead as having a gift this year, just slipped my mind. She doesn't know I forgot, and she's one of those that would be aghast that I "forgot her"-- so stash diving I found some yarn that could be knit up in two days...


Alpaca with a Twist Big Baby-- 100% baby alpaca, bulky wt

...a really great pattern that would make a bulky alpaca hat even warmer, some gigantic needles, and yay!


A bulky baby alpaca set in two days with room to spare :)

For the scarf, I used 3+ skeins of Big Baby, doubled and knit in garter st over 12 sts on US 17 (12mm) needles. The hat is Thorpe, a fun top-down earflap hat that comes both plain and stranded. I knit mine using a skein each of 'natural' and 'harvest' on US 10's to give it more room (coming from big-headed stock)...



I probably should have knit the headband/earflap panel on smaller needles, it is a bit larger than the stranded portion but still okay. I am hoping the stranding will help the alpaca keep its shape and not grow too much-- used garter for the scarf for the opposite reason and hope it will stretch even more than the 6' it's at now. I just discovered I like long scarves :) It is *crazy* heavy, and thick... warmer than Hanami for sure.

And mom will never know I forgot :)

Have a good holiday! And if Santa's listening-- what I *really* want is a year membership to the Grafton Fibers Colorways fiber club... 2 Grafton spindles plus a Grafton Fibers batt a month for a year! (I have not wanted to join a club so badly since... well since aVfKW, since Black Bunny Fibers, since the Bellwether's Rhyme Times... but still!! :))

Miss you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

or, how to avoid holiday deadline knitting

I'm not going to make it. However much you make me grin saying I'll make it, I won't... Grandma's afghan has 2 panels done and I need four. I could blame the hand and loom weaving obsession cutting into knitting time, but really, it'll be okay and no worries (she's already seen it in progress and is excited, which makes me excited, even if it'll be a week late :))

Lots of other little things done, but lots of little distractions as well. After coming home from a short holiday with family, I popped in on the Knit One One craft fair last weekend-- scored exactly what I went looking for too!

Girl on the Rocks merino-bamboo roving, 4.2oz-- "Fancy Luggage"

I haven't been buying fiber lately... I have some wonderful stuff waiting for me to spin in the fiber closet, belong to some awesome spinning clubs, some new partial fleeces *may* have stumbled their woolybullies into my house and are calling to be washed (why do I love washing fleece so much?!)... But! I was browsing Karrie's flickrstream via twitter and saw some beautiful fibers... she told me she and be at k11, and when I went browsing her etsy store saw this one and was like-- I'm going there for THAT.

I didn't plan on this though...

Stanley the penguin knitting kit from KnitWhits

SO CUTE!! I brought my son with me to k11 and he beelined to the KnitWhits table, *loving* this penguin designed by KnitSonya (hi!). So of course, sucker I am, promised to finish it for him by the holiday. (I'm hoping he forgot about it-- I stashed it and have been working on it when he goes to bed.)

This is the first kit I've ever knit from. Admittedly, I've always felt a little averse to kitted projects-- 'I could use stash yarn!' 'I could pick better colors!' 'I could dye better colors for cheaper!' etc. I have to say it was REALLY satisfying to just open this adorable box (perfect for gift giving, btw), and knit from already-wound skeins of coordinating yarns. I will be making at least one more for my sister's baby-to-be (!!) from stash yarn... but liked working from the kit a lot.

I should have picked up the kitted Elfin booties KnitWhits had as well-- ADORABLE. I know I'll be buying the pattern if I don't find a kit before my sister's baby shower.

Really though, you don't really need to leave the house to avoid the deadlines. You can just blame Kristine cos you're surrounded by amazing fiber you just can't keep your hands off of.

A Verb for Keeping Warm yak/silk, 2 oz-- "Capitan Pink's Lost Pearl"

Since this last aVfKW ultra fiber club shipment arrived, it has been just sitting on my desk taunting me with its loveliness. I told Christina I am besotted with angora lately-- it's not true. I'm head over heels for all soft, fuzzy fiber blends and my friends? Yak is amazingly soft, and halo-y, and gosh I shouldn't feel this way about an animal let alone its fur.

I've already spun up some yak/silk in another colorway, but I was impatient and already have it headed for the loom so no pics. Yet. :)

I do have some in progress pics of the last-last aVfKW club shipment though (I always wait to photograph them, hoping not to ruin anyone's surprise but then forget to take them at all :))...

aVfKW 2 oz baby alpaca-- "Witchy Woman" and 1.5 oz alpaca/silk-- black
(both fibers sent as club shipment)

Another soft soft soft fiber. Ultimate goal-- 2-plying the different colors into a super fat drapey yarn. For...? A cowl? Something to be snuggled in for sure.

MORE soft/fuzzy? Can't be.

Lavender sachet from spindlespun 70/30 aVfKW baby camel-silk-- "Succulent"
doubled and woven on the Weave-It

This was some of the first yarn I spun on a spindle. I still am, having 6 oz of the stuff...

Golding Tsunami spindle, .75 oz

Time flies and all that :)

I decided not to ply the singles before weaving, they look really cool doubled instead as woven fabric. The fuzz factor is super high and good too-- I'd be rubbing this all over my cheek if not for the super fresh lavender in a mesh bag I sewed up inside being way too strong for that. I'll make a bunch of these (lavender packs, not just in camel/silk) for little gifts and also perfect for slipping into the yarn and fiber stash, I'm thinking.

Aside from fiber, and spinning, and weaving away from meeting my handmade holiday goals, I had a hair to sort thru the large lots of Spin Off Magazines I'd been accumulating. And apparently duplicating all over the place!


I'm destashing them, more info on specific issues over at Ravelry (and here at my 18+ tumblelog for non-ravellers).

Okay! Best of luck to all of you still racing towards holiday knitting deadlines :) Best wishes and thoughts if I don't see you before then, miss you!

Monday, December 01, 2008

up and then down again

Not for nothing, but my Flip has stolen most of my blogging thunder :) I sit down to write and am like-- I used to write about knitting, then spinning... but maybe weaving is too large a leap to make here? Still, the worry hasn't slowed me much and I have a grip of new scarves to show for it.

Socks that Rock lightweight, "Fred Flintstone"

I had slowly started getting rid of many of my multicolored sock yarns, opting to stash the semisolids instead. I held onto this skein for a while, being an orange and red girl, but I just didn't feel the pull of socks in its destiny. I think it does look fun woven up though...

6.5" width, ~60"length excluding fringe
10dpi reed, 72 ends, 9rpi

A random plaid in some places. I think the tight twist sock yarns make it harder to make a neat selvedge than a softer yarn might... I have some beautiful Zen Yarn Garden sock yarn that I want to test that idea with in a few. As much as I like the colors, I don't know if I like the scarf (I'm leaning towards slightly thinner, slightly longer ones lately)... I see myself accumulating a pile of these scarves, destined either for gifts or my etsy store.*

A fun experiment with this handspun cormo...

Hester, fleece from Cormo Sheep and Wool Farm
spun from batts, 2-ply heavy aran (90 gm, 88 yd)

I originally spun this testing for a heavy yarn for one of the Fine Fleece beauties... I later decided that I didn't want to card the cormo for that project, and still had this really soft, squishy, super fat yarn that seemed maybe even too short for a hat. Enter the loom and...

5" width, 57" excluding fringe
10dpi reed sleyed every other (so, 5dpi), 42 ends, ~7.5-8rpi

This one was fun for a few reasons... first, I can use handspun as warp! Everyone always tells you to be super careful about it, but this heavy 2-ply did well (and I put it under extreme tension to test the question out). I also was excited that alternating every other slot/hole on the heddle essentially "gave" me another 5dpi heddle-- I have been thinking about buying new heddles for heavier handspun yarns in the stash, and will eventually, but being able to use the 10dpi with the loom means I can put that off a little longer (they're expensive at $46/each, and can't be swapped with the less expensive Ashford heddles like they can on the Kromski Harp...)

Also, it was neat to see how the yarns reacted differently under tension and not-- the warp on the loom looked like an entirely different yarn weight than the weft as I was weaving, and I could see the warp gain some of the bounce when I was finished and cut it off of the loom. Fulling the scarf gently to really make the yarn pop and puff seemed to work as well.

This is easily the softest scarf of all-- maybe not just for the cormo content? The fulling? The heavier weight yarn? Dunno-- but I really like it. I found several batts of the same fiber I had carded up a while ago stashed in the back of my closet that I really wasn't interested in spinning, now I think I may spin up a few more heavy skeins of yarn for weaving.

This one was the most fun...

Hand Jive Knits Nature's Palette, granite and medium indigo (naturally dyed)

I bought this pair of skeins as a baby boy bootie project at the same time I bought the twin bsj yarns-- never got around to knitting them, even though they are really nice. I planned for a colorwork project... til my son said *he* wanted a scarf. The idea of weaving a 4" project on the loom didn't really appeal... til I wondered if I could do two of the same scarves at the same time. And I did! :)


Oh, my odd stick shuttles? Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks. My shortest shuttle is 15", then 21" so no way was I using those at the same time :) I had planned on letting my son weave one and me the other at the same time... but honestly couldn't stop once I had them warped after his bedtime and had them done by the time he woke the next morning.


The fabric on and off the loom is beautiful. But I don't really like the solidness of the color... I keep looking at the loom as the beallendall solution to "my! yarn! is! POOLING!" of multicolor yarns-- maybe I need to open up to the possibility that solids on the loom will be okay too.

As much as he protested he wanted one, no TWO and swore up and down he'd wear them...


4" wide, 44" long
10 dpi reed, 44 ends, 9rpi
(staged for your benefit :))

...he has worn one once and said "no thanks, maybe tomorrow" every day since. Oh well. Mine now.


Seriously though, these little-length scarves are cool for tucking into jackets where you don't want a bunch of bulk against your belly trying to keep your neck warm. Doubling up in two different colors is really pretty too, if I say so myself. The Nature's Palette is also really great feeling woven up-- not a super tight twist but really soft.

Well, there has been a little knitting (who forgot to tell me the holidays are coming and I needed to get cracking on my grandma's afghan?!) but it's just not as interesting as the fun I'm having weaving... so those pics and details will have to wait.

Til then! :)

*I'm heading home for a week or more and will be putting my etsy stitch marker store in 'vacation mode' while I'm gone-- no orders and no shipping during that time. I'll be shipping orders til this Wednesday and have added gift certificates to the shop with free shipping if you're looking for holiday gifts for the knitters on your list (and I can ship directly to them!)... If you're local, you can also find zero stitch markers at A Verb for Keeping Warm's retail store, The Workshop, starting Dec 6th (the day of their grand opening!)
Yay! :)

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