Not Another Laceweight

Hey, so I guess I forgot to talk about this yarn I made? I think I mentioned it over here but never elaborated huh?

Gobbler Loose

Well I followed the advice I’d read in The Intentional Spinner about changing wheel ratios & using a higher tension to effectively change yarn weights, and it seemed to work out pretty well. At first I was consciously trying to pull out more fibre as I was drafting, but even when I settled into mindless-zombie-drafting, it still worked out to be bigger yarn. Crazy stuff, I know!

Prepped for spinning

This is also the first of my Hello Yarn fibre stash that I have spun and the first time that I’ve spun Cheviot too. It has a pleasing crunchiness to it as I spun. It’s hard for me to articulate, but I found it an enjoyable spin.

First half spun

As I’m still on my previously mentioned WOOLEN FOREVER, WORSTED NEVER! kick at the moment, I treated this top differently than my previous go to method. I started by dividing the top in half (I even weighed both halves to be sure they were close to even), and then pulled out staple length poufs from one end & spun them from the fold.

Singles in progress

Not laceweight

I ended up with long sections of each colour. But as I didn’t do any compensation to be sure colours would line up, this yarn turned out very barber pole-y as a result. It’s fine by me. My only plan for this bump of fibre was for a larger gauge of yarn, and that’s what I got.

Finished Skein

2-ply
‘Gobbler’ by Hello Yarn
Fibre Club for October 2012
100% Cheviot Top
Woolen spun from the fold
Start Date: May 14, 2014
End Date: June 11, 2014

Woolen Spun

Back in March, I caught the spinning bug again after reading winter issue of Ply magazine. Now there was a LOT of that farm fleece to go through, and as this was a rather grimy fleece, I didn’t quite get through scouring it all. That’s ok. I have enough prepared fibre from the fleece to play with for a bit. I think I might try to get a decently clean fleece in future to play with. Now I have a “real” reason to possibly go to Rheinbeck in future.

The other thing that I got super excited about in this issue was the first article “Lying About Longdraw: Helping spinners get from worsted to woolen” by Jacey Boggs. I was really pumped to work through the methodology laid out in the article to get to spinning woolen.

Yoke Roving

So I picked this merino roving out of my fibre stash. Yes, it’s roving and not top. I thought it was a batt when I picked it out at Lettuce Knit on a weekend trip to Toronto a few years ago, but later saw that it was roving wrapped up. The article does say to work through with differently prepped fibres but I decided to work through with the same fibre throughout. Still worked.

Somewhere around step 5 or 6 things really started to click and I was “instinctively” started pulling the fibre out longer and longer before allowing it to wind onto the bobbin. Suddenly I was using longdraw like nobody’s business.

Yolk 2-ply

I was so pumped by my successes with this skein that I went to the library and took out a number of spinning books. The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson were the most useful that I read.

Yolk 2-ply

I’d love to say that I flew through this bump of fibre, but I’ve been spinning in my fastest ratios for a while which means I keep ended up with very fine singles (such problems to have!). I didn’t do a WPI count, but I can say that based on the weight to yardage ratio, this yarn lace weight.

Yolk 2-ply
2-ply
‘Yolk’ Pear Tree
100% Merino Roving
Woolen spun
Start Date: June 2013 (?)
End Date: May 14, 2014
112g
Approx. 774 yards

I finished the yarn by fulling it. I washed it in hot water and transferred it to cold water and back a few times before thwacking it against the side of my tub. It’s so soft and surprisingly plump and squishy. I’m not sure if I’ll be doing much worsted spinning anymore. This woolen yarn is that nice!

I’m so pumped about this yarn that I nearly threw all my active projects aside to immediately cast on for Kate Davies’ Hap for Harriet. I have contained myself for the moment, but it’s sure to be on the needles soon enough.

On my latest spinning project, I’ve changed my ratios and am trying to spin a heavier gauge of yarn. It was going to be a proper 3-ply, but I didn’t think I’d get much yardage.

So…what exactly happened in 2013?

Clearly last year’s efforts to try and post projects from 2012 bogged down any kind of posting about more current projects from 2013. So I’m going to do one mega post in point form of what the heck I made last year. Some of these projects have more pictures, feel free to click through to Flickr and have a look around.

SEWING 2013

I made 2 giant yellow tote bags.

Finally finished making a box bag from a thousand years ago.

Made a baby box bag out of the leftover yellow fabric and sent it to my Mom with the previously mentioned gianormous tote. She uses it to keep all her lipsticks together.

Made a set of 3 box bags as a birthday present for my friend Susie.

Started piecing a quilt. Finished the top, sandwiched it around Easter and slowly hand quilted most of it during the rest of the year. I have 4 blocks left to go.

Finally put button holes in 2 shirt dresses. I used the button hole attachment for my old Singer Featherweight. The resulting button holes are really nice.

Almost finished another shirt dress.
Made a 3rd version of Vogue 8728 for myself, with added side seam pockets and contrasting bias edging (didn’t have quite enough yardage).
Made 2 versions of the Amy Butler mini dress for my Mom. Cut out and coached her to sew number 3.
Almost finished sewing DKNY Vogue V1160, again for my Mom. Got stymied on the last step, rolled hem in polyester chiffon. Still have to finish that.
I paused sewing here for a while. Too much sweatshop sewing this summer.
Worked on the ever-growing hand pieced hexagons here and there.

Then did some Hawaiian appliqué during Christmas holidays. I finished a block I’d begun last year, and made it halfway through another block.

SPINNING 2013

I finished spinning a batt I’d started in 2012 (I think). Aspen Grove Farm Batt purchased in Lunenburg during our 2012 summer trip to the Maritimes.
Then I started spinning another batt purchased from Lettuce Knit during a weekend trip to Toronto. It’s still waiting on my wheel for me to finish it.

KNITTING 2013

This was the year of the striped baby blanket. I made 3, and have given away 2. I really like the colour combo on the 3rd one, but fear that most people might find it too ugly? And the 3rd baby’s Dad is a big Montreal Canadians fan…



I started a Damson shawl, then put it away for bad behaviour (not enough yarn and too ugly).

I knit the 2nd Cladonia shawl for my Mom.

I made myself some “early Winter mittens” to wear from 0°C to -15°C, then it’s time for stranded mittens to take over. I started these as cable on the side mittens, but didn’t like them. So I switched to a knit from the top pattern.

I participated in the Westknits Color Craving Mystery Shawl, which ended up kind of giant.

I finally finished my Koigu Pomatomuses. These were going to be flip top, and I did make one of the tops. Then I decided I would find the tops more annoying than useful, so finished them as is.

I decided that after five Winters of wearing the same beret, it was time for a new Winter hat. After scouring all the slouchy cable patterns I could find, I finally settled on Rosebud. And then I knit 2.


I started some leg warmers over the holidays which are still in progress.
And I think that’s everything. Phew.

FREAKING LACE WEIGHT!!!

I only just realised that I haven’t posted about this spinning project like AT ALL. Weird. Especially since it took me nearly a year to spin all 4 oz. of fibre (lame).

I started spinning this bump of fibre back at the end of March 2011. Yes that’s right, nearly a year ago. I decided to try spinning up some rolags using my new wheel ratios I’d gotten at Xmas.

Banana Rolags

I’ve been playing with long draw for a bit, but wasn’t really feeling like I had quite gotten the hang of it. I thought there was possibly some magic of the rolag that was somehow missing with my previous attempts sans rolag. I think my current comfort zone is some kind of semi-supported long draw. But long-draw looks so badass that I want to go whole hog.

How badass is that? How can I resist such awesomeness?

Well I’m working on it. Something I’ve found when working with the faster ratios is that it takes much more force to get the wheel going “optimal” speed. So for most of the spinning of this yarn I think I was only spinning at half mast. I’m going to work on that.

Singles from Rolags

Though making the rolags was quicker and more relaxing that I anticipated, they sucked to store while I spun them up. I only prepared half the fibre into rolags and it still took me several months to spin through them all. Life gets in the way.

Banana Split Singles

I spun directly from the roving for the second half of the fibre. So 1 ply was woolen spun and the other was worsted spun. As it turned out, the first woolen spun single was much much longer than the second worsted spun single. I wonder if there was some magic that happened in the rolag preparation that extended the fibre. Extra air whipped in or something. I was pretty even with dividing up the original fibre (or so I thought).

Spinning again

Remember that time back in September when I declared a personal spin-in? Yeah that never quite worked out. Again, life gets in the way. In fact, Fiona (my wheel) has been sitting in a nice sunny corner of the apartment pretty much since then.

20 wpi Laceweight

Until last week when I reminded myself how relaxing spinning yarn is while discussing zen activities with a coworker. I became determined to finish up the second half of the fibre (DETERMINED) and plied up ALL the yarn in the space of a few days (DETERMINED).

So so fine!

2-ply (one ply worsted, one ply woolen)
‘Banana Split’ Wild Hare Fiber Studio
100% Blue Faced Leicester
4 oz.
Approx. 780 yards
20 wpi

After washing, thwacking and drying, I measured and calculated the yardage. Approx. 780 yards of 20 wpi! I kind of blew my own mind. I know I’ve been spinning finer and finer lately, but that’s NUTS! I’m so excited. I’m going to run off and spin more yarn now. For reals 😉

20 WPI!!! Ok, last time. Now, I spin more!

September Spin-in

I realised during Labour day weekend that I really haven’t spun very much yarn this year. Other than this, this and some other non-documented singles, I really haven’t spun at all this year.

And those rolags were made in March. I’d STILL NOT finished spinning them up and they are only half the bump of fibre. So I got to spinning.

Banana Split Singles

And managed to finish up spinning the rolags (2 oz. down, 2 oz. to go).

Then I remembered that I had a acquired quite a number of mystery cakes of handspun singles in need of plying:

Mont Filé-a-main

And realised that now I have a wheel so these will be relatively quick work. Suddenly I had a stack of skeins all ready to wash.

Spinning again

I missed out on the Tour de Fleece this year. I forgot all about it until it was basically over. So I’m declaring September for spinning!

My September Spin-in is already begun. I’m going to try and spin everyday, weather permitting. Fiona and I better get to work.

Instant Baby Sweater

There are another batch of babies coming up this winter and I decided to get my needles started for them during my last 4-day weekend of the summer. I had started knitting something else with this skein of last year’s handspun but decided what it really wanted to be was a baby sweater.

Instant Baby Sweater

Or more precisely, a February Baby Sweater (a.k.a. Baby Sweater on Two Needles). This is the first time I’ve knit this sweater, and the second time I’ve actually followed an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern all the way through. Last time didn’t end so well.

Gull Stitch Detail

But fortunately, I’ve knit my way through all the bad sweaters. Also, the baby who’s going to wear this is still in utero, so no one can say that it doesn’t fit. The baby will grow into it and guaranteed won’t care about gaping necklines (or about much at all).

Garter yoke detail

P.S. This sweater is impossibly soft.

Clumsy Beret

Enough leftover for a beret?

Hey, so I finished knitting these handspun gloves and still had plenty of yarn left over in the skein and so decided to make a beret out of the leftovers. Initially, working with my gauge information and having knit many a Le Slouch in the past, I was going to just getting knitting some ribbing, do a bunch of beret increases and switch to moss stitch for the body of the hat.

Finished a hat

But after working the ribbing, there was something just not quite right about the hat. I couldn’t put my finger on it. So I set it aside and got caught up in mystery shawl knitting (the subject of another post) and traveling down to NYC for an Easter Weekend trip. Oh and I also moved for the first time in 5 years in there somewhere.

Hipstamatic self-portraits are haaard.

After things settled down a little, I found myself stuck at home with a cold and in between mystery shawl clues, I decided to pull out the ribbing and start again. This time I opted to follow the Purl Beret pattern. I liked the idea of having less noticeable decrease rounds in striping handspun instead of a star pattern of paired decreases.

From the top

I had to adapt the numbers slightly (as I usually do) to match the gauge of the yarn I was using. Somehow I never end up using yarn that is a straight across replacement for what’s called for in the pattern. But it’s an easy enough thing to fix. Knitting math is pretty easy most of the time.

Hey, it's a hat.

The knitting went really quickly once it was restarted. And suddenly I had another hat. Just in time for warm spring.

Boob hat

And eventually I took some more official pictures of this hat.

and I have braids

Though I really haven’t worn it yet.

Yeah, it's a hat

It quickly became to warm for hats.

I'm wearing a hat

Oh, and there’s still a sizeable amount of yarn left over from this skein. I guess I might be starting a scrappy crocheted blanket at some point.

A Tale of handspun gloves

Here I am about to report on a project I finished over like a hundred thousand years ago and am just mentioning it for the first time now. Sorry about that. Sometimes life gets in the way of reporting on the crafty things. Though I really don’t let it get in the way of the crafts if I can help it.

There’s been a lot going on in the past couple of months chez mumbles. I decided to move (and moved) for the first time in 5 years. I’m still in Montreal. Still in the Plateau too. But even a short distance move takes a lot of work when done in a short amount of time. Especially as work is busy as usual AND I went to NYC and New Jersey with a small group of friends for Easter. But everything’s moved. My roommate and I are still unpacking, organizing and somehow managing to relax, settle in and play video games on her Xbox (the only part of our entertainment area that has been set up is the Xbox and TV).

Clumsy close up

Alright so back to the gloves alreadies! A million years ago when I first started knit blogging, I made these Endpaper Mittens. But as I was not in the fashion of actually ever checking my gauge, they never fit very well. They were way too big and I would end up tucking the fingers of one hand into the giant gapping opening at the top of the other hand and vice versa. Finally after seeing some yummy handspun fingerless gloves on Ravelry earlier in the spring, I decided that it was finally time to do something about this fingerless glove business. So I grabbed one of my favourite handspun yarns that I’ve spun (and apparently never blogged) and got to work.

This handspun knits up REAL nice

I found a couple of patterns, printed them out, made a gauge swatch and was starting to adapt the numbers when I realised that mittens and gloves are the garment I have knit the most in my life. I used to make my own mitts when I was a kid and just learning, adapting little kids’ mitten patterns that my mom had to fit my hands and even adapted them to work in the round once I learned how the 4 needle thing worked. So what was I doing following and modifying a pattern when I could just make one up that would fit properly?

Fingerless gloves

So I worked out some numbers and got to knitting. I took lots of notes along the way to remember what I had done on glove n°1 when it came time to knit glove n°2. I also have rather narrow wrists compared to my forearm or hand measurements, and thus ended up doing some wrist decreases (same idea as waist decreases) so they wouldn’t be all baggy and gross when I wore them.

Glove 1 back

The other that bothered me about that first pair of mittens was that there was one big opening for all the fingers instead of having each finger in a separate compartment. This makes for chilly fingers/hands. Thus, these new awesome mitts were going to have individual fingers. I know it’s more work, but I tend to put in the extra effort. Especially if it will increase my enjoyment of the final product.

Glove 2 palm

I am super happy with how the fingerless mitts/gloves turned out. As you can see, they are more of a fraternal pair than matching. And I prefer the colours in glove n°2 compared to glove n°1. Each glove was worked from a different end of the yarn ball. I ended up deciding that I’d rather not knit a third glove. Already after living with them for over a month, I’m totally used to them not matching.

Finished "pair"

I have been toying with the idea of writing up the pattern for these mitt/gloves. But there are so many patterns out there and they are kind of simple (well in my mind anyways) that I’m not sure the world really needs one more pattern for such a garment. Is this something that people would be interested in? I’m still not really sure.

Enough leftover for a beret?

Oh and as you can see there was a substantial part of the skein leftover after making these gloves. I ended up making a cute beret out of it and STILL had yarn leftover. But I’ll leave that for another post.

I’ll do my best to make sure it won’t be a month from now. There IS this kind of ominous mountain of boxes in my apartment right were the epic crafting space should be…

Finally blocked & v. useful

So I finished knitting myself my very own handspun Annis back in December, and never managed to get around to blocking it. In fact, I never blocked it.

Instead, a friend blocked it for me. She has the benefit of a spare bed on which to block shawls and I’m very lucky that she offered her services or this would have stayed lumped on a chair in my living room indefinitely (along with a sweater in need of blocking & buttons).

Finished Annis

Since getting it blocked, I have made this my new spring scarf. Nice, light, crunchy but quite warm. It’s a most welcome change to my winter scarves. I definitely foresee more such shawl-scarves in my future. And out of handspun would be just divine.

I like to wear it this way too

Though I’ve been wearing it this way more than the other. Thanks so much Amanda for blocking this for me! I know I have some overdue cross-stitch to get to.

Next up: I finally finish things I started ages ago.

Revenge of the Super Silk-tacular Hankies

Silk Hankie Burrito

When packing for Christmas vacation, I really wanted to bring some spinning with me, but wanted to keep my luggage to a minimum. So I opted to pack this Silk Hankie burrito and my drop spindle. I really haven’t used my drop spindle much since buying my wheel almost a year ago, but as I was already going to be bringing a sewing machine back with me, I thought packing a wheel was a bit much.

Hankie mixed pack

Over the holidays, I did start working with this fibre. Separating and pre-drafting the hankies into little fibre nests was actually quite fun. But spinning on a drop spindle has definitely stopped being so fun after working on a wheel. Especially spinning silk. Especially spinning this silk. I don’t think there was anything actually wrong with the fibre I purchased. I’m sure it’s entirely user un-familiarity more than anything.

I ended up packing up all the nests in a complicated saran wrap dealie and bringing back home. I took what I had started on the spindle, transferred it to a bobbin and continued the spinning on my wheel. It was still kind of a bitch to spin which is why it’s taken me two and a half months to finally finish up this skein.

Silk-tacular skein
Chain-ply
‘n° 2457–Navy Blue, Gold, Plum’ Fiber Cottage
100% Silk Hankies
1 oz.
approx. 325 yards

I’ve been REALLY wanting to start spinning something new, so forced myself to finish spinning up the silk already. And after a week of spinning for a bit in the evening, it started getting easier to work with (Much MUCH less swearing). Last night I FINALLY finished spinning the singles and COULDN’T wait to be done! So I immediately begun plying the singles.

Silk-tacular skein

I must have developed some kind of Stockholm syndrom with this fibre or something because as soon as I finished plying and saw how nice the yarn was, I almost convinced myself to get started on the other batch of hankies in my possession.

Luckily I got a hold of my senses and begun plying the other singles that have been sitting around for months. I can’t believe that this is actually the first yarn that I’ve spun this year. It definitely won’t be the last.