Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Slytherin Spinning

Do you remember this?

These days it is looking more like this:

I finally have the required yardage to pass on to the next person on this project, but I think I am going to spin what I have left over to... just in case. And although the majority of the yarn came out at least okay, about a third of the yardage is a little more loosely plied than I would like. I think I may end up running it back through the wheel to add a little more twist to cut down on the splity-ness for the "Chasers" in the Harry Potter group project.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Recently I was asked by a friend if they would have to throw out some yarn if it was really stinky, or if it could somehow be salvaged. I told her that if it was a good quality yarn, something could probably be done, and thus gained a new project.

This is the yarn. I have only been able to find reference to "Cocoon de Tiber" online at the German version of Ebay, so I have no idea how my friend came to have it in her possession. It is very, very soft though: 70% angora and 30% lambswool. Unfortunately however, it smelled really chemically, like some sort of benzene derivative (think toluene or mothballs, though not quite either). After a rewinding into skeins, a long gentle soak, and hanging to dry they are smelling much better though. Now I just need to find the perfect sweater pattern for this yarn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cast On!

Do you ever challenge yourself to something just because? On the Ravelry "Stash Down 2008" forum there is a challenge to finish 10 WIPs in a row without starting anything new. So far I have finished 7/10, but I am starting flag.

Fortunately there is a loop hole. You can cast something on with the yarn from a WIP that you rip out. Digging through my WIP basket I found 2 such projects that I just wasn't happy with.

The first was a cabled baby sweater for my niece. I love the pattern I was using, but since my row gauge was different the increases on the sleeves looked wonky. I plan to restart this in the same design.

The second was a neck tie. Why the heck did I want to knit a neck tie? I don't know, but it seemed a good idea at the time... Now it has been reborn as a pair of socks. Ahh socks, how I have missed you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quick, Empty the Bobbins

It is funny. Like clockwork, the weather starts getting a little cooler, and I bring my spinning wheel out of its summer retirement. When things are hot and sticky I just can't stand the clinging wisps of fiber, but in the Fall things are completely different.

Today I finished up a bobbin of blue merino/tussah silk, and plied it back on itself to make a 2-ply. The resulting skein is a little smaller than I would like, but I will get to the other 2 ounces soon. For now I needed room on the bobbins for this:

Some lovely dark emerald (slightly more so than shown here) wool that I picked up from Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns this week for a different sort of craft-a-long. Over on Ravelry, there is a HP Knitting/Crocheting House Cup group, and I was lucky enough to get to participate in the Quidditch. Very exciting! I am a Beater (think defense) for Slytherin, so I will be helping spin the hand-spun for our project. Now to work! I need 280 yards of worsted, so it shouldn't take too long if I stay focused.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Fleece Play Pants

I am not sure why, but I have been really intrigued by sewing recently. I have pulled my sewing machine back out, and my small fabric stash with it. From there I pulled out this adorable fleece print, which I had a smidgen more than I would need for a pair of fleece pants for a toddler.

Not only was the pattern I used easy, but they also had good instructions on putting elastic in a waistband casing. The results were surprisingly neat, even with my relative inexperience. The legs look a little long, though that is in part because I need to hem them after I have my neice try them on.

Pattern: Play pants
Pattern Source: Learn to Make Children's Clothes by Sue Locke

This pattern is the first one where I had to draft my own pattern pieces from a scaled down version on a page. I had a few concerns about working with the grid, but it wasn't too bad at least with these relatively small pieces for baby clothing. I think it might have been a little harder to get a smooth line with a larger finished item.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Black Bess

Recently I was digging through my finishing basket looking for a missing baby sweater. (The baby sweater did show up eventually, but in a completely different place.) In the process I came across this scarflette. I had knit it way back in the winter of 2006, but never woven in the ends because I didn't know anyone who could use such a thing. As a result I was thinking of picking out the last few rows and making it longer, but mostly I just forgot about it once it had been abandoned in the basket.

Pattern: Elizabeth I - Dainty Bess by JoLene M. Treace
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in black (exactly 1 skein)
Size: 33.25"/83.5 cm
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm

(Please excuse my difficulties in photographing a black project.) This was my first real lace project, and I think it is a good way to learn the basics of reading a lace pattern without worrying about a pattern that also calls for increases at the same time.

Well almost 2 years later and I find myself at a very different point in my life. Now instead of the decent but casual clothes I wore in graduate school, I am looking more towards the professional, and this scarflette, might actually fit in with my wardrobe after all.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

HSKS Sign-ups Open

If you have heard me talking about one of my Harry Potter themed swaps before and thought "hey that sounds like fun" now is your chance! Sign-ups are open for the 6th round of the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap. Don't let the name fool you though, you can request a kit for socks, a bag or to "surprise me".

Last I had heard Ravenclaw was almost full, but there was still room in the other houses. (You could always join me in Slytherin...)

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Baby Boy Guernsey

The astute among you may notice the change in my blogging schedule. Due to my schedule this semester, I am less likely to post on MWF than I used to.

Salvbard's co-workers continue to have babies, and I keep knitting trying to keep up. The latest was a beautiful (but huge) 10 lb baby boy. So I am glad I opted for a larger sweater size for him. There is nothing quite like a hand-knit gift that never even fits.

Pattern: Infant Guernsey Sweater C-451 by Joyce Bernard
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly DK
Yarn Supplier: Spark Craft Studio
Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm

The little boy who is getting this sweater already has a big sister, so mom specifically requested something blue with no wool. (She is allergic.) Digging through my stash, I wasn't finding a lot to fit the bill, until I noticed this yarn. Although it is a nylon/acrylic blend it is really nice stuff: very soft and (more importantly) machine washable and dry-able.

Since the gauge was a tiny bit smaller than called for by the pattern (light-worsted), I opted to use the 12 month number of stitches for a 6 month sized sweater. The body of the sweater I lengthened a tiny bit, but otherwise all the dimensions were that of the 6 month size. Hopefully the 19" chest circumference with fit for a little while anyways.

I have made this sweater pattern twice before, and it is really one of my favorite gender-neutral patterns. I bought it early in my knitting life before I tended to look on-line for a pattern first, but it has been a great investment.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Not-Thick-and-Thin Cardigan

It has been downright chilly in the mornings here in New England. Which means that I have finally been in the mood to pick up this bulky sweater again.

Pattern: Thick-and-Thin Cardigan Coat by Stefanie Japel
Pattern Source: Fitted Knits
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Truffle and N.Y. Yarns Action in color 06
Yarn Supplier: KnitPicks and the Knitting Room (now defunct)
Needles: US 17/12.75 mm and US 8/5.00 mm

Modifications: Um yes, I did make a few.

If you look at the proportions of the arms to the body in the photographs for this sweater you will see something quite different than the what is described in the directions. Also given my petite height, I basically disregarded instructions about length, and just tried it on as I knit until the lengths pleased me.

I replaced the button band a zipper on the advice of Guido, Susan, Janet and the rest of the Athan's brunch crew. Sp I installed a 22" zipper. In retrospect, though, I might have been better off with a 20" zipper, since what I really had was more like a 21" length when worn. To that end I replaced the button band with simple garter stitch up to, but not including, the collar, which took the zipper quite well.

Could I have made the band go all the way up the collar as instructed? Yes, but I didn't have the pattern in front of me at the time. We shall consider it a "design feature". Given that last change, though, I needed to significantly lengthen the collar so that it could fold over and give me the look I wanted. And the end result? A great fall sweater.