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Opening A Little Internet Yarn Shop!

Good morning!  It’s TRUE.  I’ve finally decided (and worked my way through most of the steps involved) to sell my extra handspun yarn via webstore.

ok, well, I had decided but then discovered it is acceptable to sell handmade items via wordpress and so have, instead, set up a sister site – Handspunyarn.wordpress.com

My little shop is called ‘HandspunYarn’ and will offer a variety of hand spun yarns from laceweight to bulky.  Since I love a good fiber, there will be lots of unique blends and all offerings are one of a kind.

All my my wool is prepared in an environmentally friendly way using safe Dawn dish soap in most cases, sometimes purex naturals, vinegar and occasional hair conditioner in the rinse.  All dyes are food safe unless noted (for example my superwash merino is predyed)

I prepare my fiber by hand, carding/combing and blending with other fibers.  A favorite of mine is silk – sari and bombyx at the moment – and I also blend with camel, alpaca, llama, mohair, angora, yak and even cashmere and cotton, on occasion.

For a great selection of unique, knittable yarns, please visit my shop.

Have an excellent day!

Lisa

The Beautiful Birthday Wool And Other Fun Stuff

Good Morning!

Yes, again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted 🙂 It feels like spring – a beautiful beautiful day in Ontario. Time to sort, clean and catch up…

A couple of weeks ago I had another birthday and wanted to treat myself to something special. I decided to make some pretty yarn inspired by amethyst…a little bit of sparkle (silk from india), a little bit of shine and bold bright colour (handdyed longwool) and a fair share of beautiful, bouncy softness (gorgeous handdyed cormo/merino cross recently purchased from mmfwool on ebay – I *highly* recommend it).

In the dye pot – the wools and some wilton’s violet icing colour….

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I blended the fibres with hand cards and, voila!

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The plan is to knit ‘Sabbatical’ by Connie Chang Chinchio…it should be awesome!

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The wool from mmfwool is absolutely wonderful to work with…nice crimp, beautiful feel, lovely length….

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The kids have been enjoying march break!

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I’ve been working on some other wools as well…

black/brown suffolk mix – this is a three ply worsted/dk weight which will eventually become a sweater…
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Finished pictures coming soon for this and some lovely wool/silk mix yarn which I’m just in the middle of finishing up! Have a fantastic day 🙂

Spinning Again!

Now that I’m finished the lovely knee socks, I felt like working on my spinning for a couple of days…it’s a nice break and I’ve been dying to get to it since I got all that beautiful (superwash merino) fibre at The Black Lamb for Christmas!

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I’m mixing these two colours (shell pink and a pink blend) by plying them together. I’m purposefully making the shell ply a little thinner than the blend – a little experiment.

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My finished product – the first skein – is approximately fingering to dk (by looks) and is about 14 wpi – probably 12 wpi in the thicker sections. I’m going to spin it all in a row to help ensure that the yarn is pretty much well matched. I know, I know….yes, I SHOULD just spin all the singles, wind them onto toilet paper rolls and then mix them to make the weights similar later.

Pfffffft…I don’t swatch either, ever. Don’t tell the knitting police!

I have a project in mind as I spin but it’s definitely a little into the future!! I’m thinking of designing an open knit sweater – done on larger than suitable needles – that is bottom up, as one piece as possible, with a simple seam finish and a v or some such neckline. It’ll be perfect for over a camisole. With this in mind, I chose the pinks because they are as delicate as the intended project.

I’m pretty excited about all of it 🙂

The New Rovings!

superwash merino

Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂

I ended up with over 7 pounds of beautiful fluff this time 🙂 I went with a lot of smaller bits because I liked the bright, spring-like colours. Loved the oranges, pinks, yellows especially! I think I want to make a three ply sock yarn out of some of those…

Yosemite in the silk is going so-so. I think I misjudged the size and I’m seriously considering pulling it back out and casting on again in another size. The pattern itself is beautiful and the silk looks really nice.

I’m starting the sweater for my son in the handspun…cast on last night after much figuring of the math! So far (and I’m only done the waistband section) it looks great 🙂

Spinning To Order…

Yes, I’m working on the yarn for my son…the black and grey superwash.

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A light worsted/dk weight is my goal though I’m never sure what I’m getting exactly with the hand spinning. I don’t know if you get to the point where you know for sure that the singles are ‘perfect’ in size or if it’s always a bit of a guessing game. I kind of go for a sock weight single so the two will end up as a worsted when plied. And then there’s the thick/thin factor. I don’t know if other spinners get past this but there are definitely ALWAYS thick/thin places in my singles. Not a lot of them, but they’re there.

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I’m also working on a knitted top for myself. Yosemite worked in Shire Silk that I’ve been saving since I bought it last year. It has GOT to be the most expensive yarn I’ve ever ordered. Not because the yarn wasn’t on sale but because of the method of shipping to Canada from Webs. I’ve learned different sellers ship different ways and there are some that I will buy from now and some I will not. I do my best to stay away from the USPS! Unless I love having a whole lot of ‘surprise’ charges to pay COD at the post office on pick up, LOL, it seems the way to go. So this is the one and only thing I will ever/have ever bought at Webs, did I mention EVER? On the other hand, I had previously bough some beautiful yarn, including some Shire Silk, at fabulousyarn.com and they shipped the civilised way and there were NO surprises at the post office on that order. With the discounts, the yarn prices were quite similar anyways. Live and learn!

My goal this year is to knit the stash. I will excuse myself this rule when it comes to buying rovings, of course! 🙂 Must. Feed. The. Spinning. Habit. Other than handspun though, I hope to use the yarn I’ve been hoarding — there is a LOT of it too, LOL.

Since I’m a SAHM, I like to find ways to contribute – read ‘save money’ – so I’m planting a patio garden this year. I have beans, three kinds of peas (two with edible pods, one without), three different kinds of tomato plants (heirloom, cherry and normal), red, green and heirloom peppers, green onions. Right now the babies are growing in little pots on all my window sills and eventually they will be repotted for the decks. We have gardens around the house as well but I’m not too interested in feeding the local bunny population. Bunnies are adorable and all but this is OUR food! 🙂 I’m planting at least six of each plant and I really hope I get enough food to help out and make a difference.

I’ve also been baking our bread every day and it makes a difference I’m sure. Bread here now is about three dollars a loaf for the CRAP. Very expensive! I make two loaves at a time, sometimes every day, sometimes every other. It only takes me about half an hour to make, save rising time. The kids love it and when I bake, they eat far better, way more. A store bought loaf of CRAP lasts us about three days…two home made loaves last us a day or a a day and a half. I like it when they enjoy the food!!! Makes me feel like a million when I know I’m contributing to that.

I’ve started getting really creative with our leftovers and with recipes in general. I’m getting better at going by the rough outline of a recipe and using all the things we like instead of the things they call for that I don’t have! The kids are even enjoying the results!

The Handspun Ribby Shrug…

is all done!

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It turned out nicely, I think, though it’s much bigger than I expected from looking at the way it fit on the model in the magazine. Now, of course – LOL – I’m not a gauge-checker generally and didn’t check to see what the finished measurements were compared to the specs in the pattern. My original gauge was a little off, I do know. I think the yarn was just a tad too thick to match the pattern’s yarn and that’s where the difference came in.

I guess beginner-spinner-luck can only last so long! 🙂

So…though I love it, I know it’s a little different than it was meant to be 🙂

It’s quite impossible, really, to NOT love this blend…the seacell/silk is awesome on the skin and it makes me crave enough to make a real sweater. Definitely something I’m going to think about next time I’m fiber shopping!

Look how nice it is up close…

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Working On The Ribby Shrug!

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It’s pouring rain today…and snowing in some places!! Not here though, I’m happy to say 🙂

I worked on the Ribby Shrug yesterday and I’m almost halfway done. I don’t think I’m going to have enough yarn to make the matching tank but I’m thinking a tank in another of the colours I have…it’ll be superwash merino instead of the seacell/silk if I do it that way. I think either the wine red shade or the mossy green would work with the natural beige. It’s a bummer but I’ll make it work.

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So today it’s taxes (yeah, fun) and knitting. Cleaning too if I get energetic, lol. Thankfully my taxes are very basic and I’ve already done a rough copy, months ago. If I had been smart I would have just finished them up then. Fortunately I don’t owe money this year (unless we count the back owed from last year) so the deadline isn’t cast in stone for me – BUT I plan to have them mailed by tomorrow evening, at the latest.

Another Yarn :)

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I’ve finished the first skein of two ply seacell/silk from the rovings I purchased at the black lamb!! I have 242.5 metres of a roughly dk weight thick/thin yarn. I love it! It’s a nice light natural beige and I am SO hoping I have enough to make myself the tank/shrug I want. We shall soon see!

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New Magazines!

And that means…New patterns I want to knit…and spin for…lol!

I picked up the new Vogue Knitting (Spring/Summer 08)…it features ‘organic style’ and we(me and my daughters) like a few of the designs! Not the norm for us and vogue…so it’s a nice surprise 🙂 Vogue is one of those magazines I have to have but rarely knit from. This issue inspired me to pull out the ‘eyelet candy’ issue from 07 too 🙂

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The other one I found was Knit’NStyle’s June 08 issue — featuring Meg Swansen and summer projects. There are more than a couple sweaters/tanks and a shrug we like very much!

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The first thing I want to make is the Ribby Tank and Shrug from the Knit’nStyle….

Ribby Tank And Shrug

I’m desperately hoping that I can use the 30/70 seacell/silk blend roving I bought at The Black Lamb for this…wouldn’t it be just beautiful in an ivory silk???!

I began spinning last night…I don’t know how far it’s going to go and could well end up being another little top BUT it’s going to be beautiful regardless!

70/30 seacell/silk

I’m aiming for a two ply dk/light worsted weight. The silk – lets just call it silk, it’s that soft!! – is not difficult to spin but does try to go thick and thin for me yet. I just hope, lol, that the ‘thick’ of one ply meets the ‘thin’ of the other! 🙂

Note to self – buy three bags of the seacell/silk next time…restraint!! What was I thinking?!

The Best Chair Ever!

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Don’t you agree?!

We found this at a second hand store in Barrie over the weekend and I had to have it! It is so comfortable and I love the look too. I think it’s pretty old and I’m not letting the kids use it, lol…I, on the other hand, love sitting in it for knitting or whatever…it lets the kids have the couch and since our living room is small, it helps us all fit in without too many of us sitting on the floor (which we don’t mind either).

A few pictures of the Hexacomb Cardigan I knit with my handspun superwash merino from The Black Lamb….

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A close up of the ‘buttons’ – ok, beads 🙂

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And the beginnings of Ice Queen….

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About Time…

So, I’ve entered my laceweight into the spinning contest I’ve been talking about. I couldn’t take the waiting for someone else to enter so I’m the first entry, lol. Here’s the finished yarn…

sakinaneedles 2ply laceweight 333 m/40 m

I’m happy as can be with it. I’m planning to make the Ice Queen pattern from knitty.com with it using some glass seed beeds in pink and amber shades. I also have blue and an ivory so they are always options too. I think it’s a great choice because it’s superwash yarn and will be easy to care for. The colours are perfect too I think!

2ply lace weight - dusty cornflower - sakina needles

My daughter’s cardigan is coming along well…done the main knitting and working on seaming and trim today. I hope to have enough yarn left for the trim but it’s ok if I end up spinning more. The last of the singles are still on the bobbins to give me a ‘starting weight’ to copy. That’s how I spun the yarn for it so far. I think the leftover helps a lot to keep the weight the same. I’ve been just joining onto the leftover and continuing the strand rather than worrying about emptying the bobbins and starting fresh. I have no idea how others spin for large projects but this works for me!

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Insomnia…

isn’t fun! But you do get to finish a lot of knitting that way.

hexacomb cardigan body

I started the first sleeve but with a modification. I like the hexagon pattern and so am including it in the sleeve. The pattern calls for a stocking stitch sleeve but to me that looks too plain. Plus, I think the pattern is a perfect way to feature the handspun yarn I’m using…it hides a lot of little variances that the stocking stitch just could not.

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Last night I was exhausted by 8 pm so I went to bed early…LOL (nice try to me). I then woke up at about ten, when the kids went to bed and couldn’t get back to sleep until about 3! Now it’s seven thirty and I’m awake for the day…dogs don’t like people who sleep in, or at least our dogs don’t.

I think I need a nap!

Hexacomb…

So far!

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I love it… 🙂 The handspun is looking pretty good in this pattern!

I’m just about ready to seperate for the armholes and the second ball of yarn. A really quick knit and the pattern is simple enough I can take it out (like to karate last night) without carrying the pattern…

This Is Working Out Great!

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This is my first skein of yarn for the cardigan…just about the perfect wpi…close enough I’d think 🙂 I don’t have a weight for it as it’s still drying but it’s just under 200 metres so two more like this will be enough (as per the pattern).

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I’ve learned more about how to properly spin worsted…by experience-I’ve realized that if I use my pinky finger and palm to draft, far away from the twist, I can keep the roving straight throughout without ending up with those extra ‘bumps’ of fibre! Very cool. This is probably the best I’ve spun yet! 🙂

Project Spin-For-A-Sweater

Ok, a hexacomb cardigan, actually…

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This is my first bobbin of singles. I’m going for a 2ply, dk weight/light worsted, approximately 600 metres (should be more than enough-pattern calls for 500). I’m using the superwash merino in lavender that I just bought at the black lamb on the weekend. The pattern is in the Spring 08 IK magazine.

It’s harder trying to spin a specific weight than I thought and since this is the first bit, it may not be the right weight. I’m totally prepared to put aside the first ball if I have to!

Branching Out…

Knitted with my handspun BFL yarn…

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The colours are hard to take pictures of!  In some light it’s more of a coral/salmon but the true colour is more like what you see in the purples/pinks picture.

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The pattern is Branching Out from Knitty and I used about 200 yards in my scarf 🙂

Pretty!

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I finished my second skein of wheel spun yarn (I’m ignoring the laundry in the background!)

It’s so pretty and yet so SHORT.  I ended up getting 200 metres exactly from 4 oz of roving.  I didn’t weigh the roving so I’m going by the weight I ordered.  I haven’t taken it down from it’s drying hanger yet…the last thing I want is to pack up slightly damp yarn!

Naming it was difficult!  Naming isn’t my strong suit, lol.  I think of lots of names and then think they are silly 🙂   BUT…since I guess I must…I named this one ‘Sunset’.  The shades of purple and pink just made me think of a sunset.

Especially when I wrapped it for skeining…

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My goal for next time is to spin a sock weight/light sport.  LOL…good luck to me!  I’m thinking as a guide, I’ll unply some actual fingering weight and keep it handy to compare with.  Honestly, this looked so thin until I measured it!

Miss Daisy spent yesterday with me…like right on me.  I was hoping she was telling me something but nothing so far.  She had shivers or some sort of thing happening all day off and on – was really hoping that was early labor.  Could have been but it’s stopped over night.  I’ll keep you updated!

 Enjoy your day!

Modern Lace Henley

So, I’ve cast on for the modern lace henley by Pam Allen.  I’m using the mint green ‘perle’ from Eatons – some of the ‘good stuff’ from what I was gifted recently 🙂

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I’m going to knit it in the round with a 2″ split at the hips, more tunic style I guess.  Also, I’d like long sleeves.

I’ve already made an error in the lace and I’m thinking I’m ok with that!  I don’t feel like pulling it back!

I tend to forgive myself a lot of my knitting mistakes.  LOL, they add character.

I’ve been getting a lot done lately, knitting wise.  I think part of it is that I only knit with circular needles now.  They are so much easier on my body.  My shoulder aches if I use straights and my hands hurt.  The circulars fit in my hands like they belong and I find them much more comfortable. 

Ok, off to stare at the henley and see how noticable that mistake is!  I’ll take a picture of it if it survives the night and you can see for yourself 🙂

A Lacy Cami

I’ve started a lacy camisole inspired by the Shaped Lace Tee by Joan McGowan-Michael.  The pattern is in the book, ‘Knitting Lingerie Style’.  I’m using the black linen and hoping I have enough.  I plan to lengthen the body and omit the sleeves.  Ideally I would have made long sleeves but I definitely don’t have enough to do it.

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I’m knitting it in the round because I hate pointless seaming.

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Thrift Stores Are Awesome!

I’ve got some new second hand store finds to share 🙂

In order of beauty…

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This is called ‘Nautic’ laines plassard.  40% cotton, 60% linen.  I searched the net for information about it and found exactly nothing.

It calls for a 3.5 – 4 mm needle so I assume it to be a dk weight.  I only have two skeins…264 yards.

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This is simply labeled ‘Pietra’ and ‘made in italy WPL 9685’ – as you can see, 🙂 

It is 37% linen, 37% viscose, 20% cotton, 6% polyam. f. (?)  7 skeins – 121 yards each for a total of 847 yards.  I could see this as a light summer top…lacy maybe.  It is quite light feeling.

It’s another mystery on the net so I’m guessing its weight as about dk as well.  I’ll definitely have to check guage with these.

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This is Valentino i filati 303 by Filatura di Crosa.  I’m guessing it’s discontinued as well since I couldn’t find any information on it. 

70% cotton, 18% viscose, 10% ramie, 2% polyester.  164 yards/50 grams and calls for a 3.5 to a 4 needle.  Sport/dk from the look of it with a bit of a thick and thin going on.  I have four balls so I MAY have enough to make a little top or something for summer. 

I feel like the wool fairy has come calling LOL.  It’s like all these yarns have personalities and now I’m tryint to figure out what each one wants to be 🙂 

Oak Leaves Pullover

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This is the “Oak Leaves Pullover” that my mom picked up part-way finished at her second hand store.  I’m finishing it for her.  I picked it up midway through the leaf design and it has a line through the knitting — I assume because it sat on the needles for nearly forever.  I guess I should have taken out a row.  Since I didn’t, we’re going to make this the back…so mom never has to look down and see that line 🙂  The pattern is from Mary Maxim and uses dk weight acrylic.  I do love the colours!

Finished Christmas Gift :)

I have a little nephew, Matty , who loves anything I knit for him.  I gave him the knitted gansey sweater I made a while back.  I’ve made him a scarf and hat (for Christmas) out of the leftovers from that project…

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The yarn is James C. Brett Marble (dk weight).  I used the ‘my so called scarf’ pattern for the scarf and an improvised 2×2 rib hat (cast on 100 sts, size 6 mm circular needle/dpns).  I think he will love them…

Finished First Mirasol Glove :)

Here’s a picture of the first glove, all done….  Mirasol Glove

 And a look at the inside….Mirasol Glove - Inside Look

I would change a couple things with this pattern.  What I do is knit and then take notes, after each row, as I go.  I find it difficult to write it all out and then knit it.  I have no clue how others figure out their designs, but that’s my way.  With these, I would hold the kroy doubled in the cuff, to make it more fitted.  Also, I would have picked up a couple more stitches in the pinky and next-to-pinky fingers (I caught on and started doing that after those two).  They are a little snug.  But, in the interest of not frogging, because I hate that!, I am going to make the second glove as this first one.  They may be a little imperfect, but at least they will match 🙂

Yay, I’m Back!

Hello 🙂

I’ve been offline for about a day, and I hated it!  SOMEONE forgot to pay the bill on time.  ‘Nuff said.

 Nothing like losing your communications tools to learn how much you really really love/need/want them!  To think when I was starting out and my kids were little, I went without a phone voluntarily and didn’t even mind.

I just HAD to do something with the Mirasol Hacho that I bought, so I started a pair of gloves…

My 'no no' gloves

The pattern is my own and I’m calling them the ‘no no’ gloves because I did the big NO NO and mixed Patons kroy (fingering weight) with the Mirasol (light worsted, dk weight).  It was what I had that worked, colour wise.  They came out pretty nicely…or at least the first one did 🙂 

 The Hacho is beautiful and soft as can be.  I would love to make a sweater with it someday.  Another thing on my ‘want’ list.  Very nice, rich and vibrant colours.  I wonder if it will bleed much when washed…hoping not!

Check this out!

So, my sock isn’t done yet.  Yesterday turned into a lot of cookie baking and grocery shopping, not so much knitting.  My book isn’t here either BUT check out this beautiful wool!……..

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It’s Mirasol Hacho, 100% peruvian hand dyed wool and I couldn’t help myself.  The skeins are only 137 yards and I had to try two colours because it’s impossible to choose!  I think I’m going to try it in gloves.