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Dreambird Shawl in Handspun Yarn

Dreambird shawl in handspun yarn

I’ve been working on a special shawl for a special friend’s birthday and I’m finally done! Yay!!

Heather's Shawl Close-up

It is Nadita’s Dreambird pattern, purchased from her shop on Ravelry. She is a really interesting designer with a lot of patterns I think would work really well with handspun yarn πŸ™‚

Hanspun Shawl

A reminder of where this came from — the shetland lamb from earlier this year…(the handdyed coloured sections)

Shetland, ready to wash

The grey is a rambo/bond cross.

Hand spun shawl - dreambird pattern

The pattern takes some getting used to but is really easy once you get the hang of it. Highly recommended!

Have a great day πŸ™‚

If you might be interested in my handspun yarn for sale, please check out my destash site!

A Very Bright Baby Blankie!

Samantha's Blankie/1060 metres

It’s a pattern from Wooly Thouhts, available on Ravelry. Best of all, it’s based on math and really easy to improvise as you go, once you get the hang of it πŸ™‚

I used some of the shetland lamb, dyed it in a multitude of colours. I use the Dharma Trading Co. acid dyes and they are excellent! I blended the dyed locks on hand cards and added a pinch of targhee cross to each rolag – each rolag was split in half so when spun, the plies pretty much lined up and created the blending of one colour to another. In total, 1060 metres of handspun two ply went into this blanket.

handspun from handdyed shetland lambswool

Sidetracked, Again (or is that always?)

Ok, I admit it, I just might have a BIT of an issue with sticking to one thing, lol. It’s like some kind of ‘ooooooh shiny, soooooo pretty’ disease. I have so many projects on the go that it’s truly ridiculous.

There is the sweater I am knitting out of handspun light fingering weight yarns, in stripes. The white is cormo/merino hand combed and blended with very fine alpaca, two ply. The coloured yarn is a hand carded silk/wool blend, 2 ply.

the yarn

close up

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The yarn I really did finish (yay, one for me, save the part where there are half a bobbin of singles waiting to be plied into yarn, should I get around to finishing the other ply), created from hand processed, hand combed cormo/fdt fleece from mmfwool….

'dilbert' cormo/fdt 2 ply lace weight

'dilbert' wool cormo/fdt 2 ply lace

So far I have two skeins of this, around 700 metres, I’d guess. And I would be guessing, lol, since I have yet to count the strands πŸ™‚

The ‘ooh shiny’ which I just started yesterday. Days off work are fantastic!

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Hand dyed silk, cormo/merino fleece and super-soft-camel fluff…it is divine….

blending for 'moss'

And, certainly not last, simply last for today – some super soft gloves I’m working on, created with handspun angora bunny/hand dyed silk blended yarn.

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the pink bunny wool (angora/silk)

Thankfully winter is a few months away!

The ‘RED’ Has Turned Out Very Well!

I’d love to say ‘good morning’ but it’s afternoon, evening really… so happy day, my friends πŸ™‚

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I’ve been keeping busy with work and fabulous fiber. I managed to ply the red yarn and it came out to 380 meters of lovely lace or light weight fingering, I’d say. I like my socks on the thin side, comfy and perfect for normal wear in normal shoes. I’ll most likely put it in my shop but perhaps not for long, depending on how long I can resist it…

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I’ve also spent some time working with the beautiful cormo/fdt cross fleece purchased from mmfwool on ebay…

soft! cormo/fdt

It’s taking two washes to get the lanolin out, or mostly out, as the case may be. Really lovely fleece with a variety of greys in it starting with the lightest pearl gray and going to almost black in places! It combs as nicely as I suspected it would, too. Take a peek at this bit of hand pulled roving…

cormo/fdt roving - hand combed

It’s SO very satisfying, turning a raw fleece into clouds of fiber-y goodness.

Have a fantastic night πŸ™‚

Opening A Little Internet Yarn Shop!

Good morning! Β It’s TRUE. Β 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. Β 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. Β 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. Β 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

You’ve Got To Love A Friday!

Yes, I know it’s not really friday.Β  For me, though, it is – so yay!Β  Not that I don’t enjoy my job because I actually do, it’sΒ just a matter of balance.Β  My crafts are exactly what balance me πŸ™‚

And now I get to spin πŸ™‚Β  For two whole glorious days πŸ™‚

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This is some of the very lovely cotton which I bought from an excellent seller I found on Ravelry, from Kentucky.Β  I bought two pounds to give it a try – it was raw…I love learning new things from the ground up!

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It came like the bit on the left – on the right is some of the cotton pulled off of the seed.

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I held the seed and pulled off the fluff…

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In the end I had a cloud of very clean fluff with just a bit of vm left.

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Just because I’m me (lol, of course!), I had to try spinning it both ways.Β  I carded some and rolled it off the card from side to side…

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I think both methods work well and don’t have a real preference yet πŸ™‚Β  I ended up all distracted and started spinning and knitting for a lovely thin knit alpaca cardigan – 2 ply just-a-little-more-than-lace-weight.

hanspun 2ply alpaca cardigan

I have more yarn to ply…I’m finding the weaving bobbin rack and winder sooooo useful!Β  Best thing ever.

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It’s an absolute star for storing the singles and plying from too!

Oh! And I must show you the baby boy!Β  He’s growing like a weed and getting cuter every day!

So cute!!

The spinning wheel is calling…Have a fantastic couple of days folks – I know I will πŸ™‚

Where To Begin…?

Yes, it has been a while! I’ve been stuck in this place called ‘the rabbit hole’ since I bought that first antique wheel. The rabbit hole looks something like this…

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The wheels are abundant…and beautiful…

I’ve been busy cleaning them and oiling them and doing my best to get them spinning well. Grandma is doing very well with her new spokes! She’s also glowing from her blo treatments…her old self is shining…

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I carved her spokes from a dowel, since I didn’t have a lathe. It began because I was thinking of putting dowels in place, temporarily, until I could get replacements made. Necessity is the mother of invention, for sure! I just gave it a try and figured it out along the way…

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And then she had her clean-up…

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And now she is much more beautiful… πŸ™‚

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She spins really well! I’ve spun a two ply superwash merino (approx. sock weight), so far…

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Winding those bobbins of singles was enough to convince me I NEEDED to built a bobbin winder. More on that coming up tomorrow. I used a formerly-useless spinning wheel type object to do it!

Yes, I Have Been Slacking

I haven’t blogged in SOME TIME….wow, too long, really.

My beautiful daughter had her beautiful baby!! He’s the most beautiful boy in the world…of course, I am a little bit biased…just a little πŸ™‚ She says I must ‘blog’ him, so here is a picture of cuteness itself….

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So, perfect, right? I’m one proud grandma, though that’s something to get used to — I’m so NOT used to being a grandma!

Certainly the excitement of new babies explains my blogging-slacking behaviour, doesn’t it?

I’ve done some spinning, some knitting and some beautiful fleece purchasing – all since I’ve been on the blog last and some of which I’d like to share here since I’m really thrilled with some of the results πŸ™‚ I’ve been on a bit of a yarn/fleece diet this year, and trying to use up the fleeces and fibre I already have rather than buying more. IF you could see the yarn closet you’d definitely agree that the diet is necessary. It’s that or we have to expand the yarn closet, lol, or trade it perhaps with the children – their room would really make a good storage! πŸ˜‰

I spun some navy and royal blue superwash merino fibre which I had bought last year at the Black Lamb (www.theblacklamb.ca), from Laurie, who is wonderful. I plied it (two plies – I’m a lazy spinner with two bobbins) and knit it up into the Gooseberry Cardigan pattern. I’m more than happy with this sweater – it’s comfy, it’s soft, it’s quite possibly my new favorite all time sweater!

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Not the best picture and I can’t believe it BUT, it seems I forgot (?) to take pictures of the spun wool or the spinning itself. I must be losing my grandmother mind!

Bonus! Found a picture of the spun yarn…
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I made a little crocheted top – the Avalon Top by Doris Chan. Love how it turned out too….

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I also made a little pair of socks, from my handspun superwash merino sock yarn…three ply this time….

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I prefer ankle socks so when I made up this design, they seemed the way to go!

Seems like forever and like I’ve got too much to say for one day. Instead of jumbling it all together we’ll have to finish this up tomorrow – when I’ll show the new alpaca fleeces I just washed and the beautiful shetlands I’m processing!!!

Have a great day! πŸ™‚

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

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It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

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I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

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The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

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I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

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I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

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We’ll have to see how it goes….

Bringing Baby Home

Good morning πŸ™‚

I’ve finished my latest crochet portrait…created from a photograph from 20 years ago, of me holding my eldest daughter on the day we came home from the hospital…

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The original photo…

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A bit closer up….

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Perspective makes a huge difference with these fibre creations! Up close, they look so much like nothing but when you step back a few feet, the picture is so clear.

I’ve also finished the first pair of crocheted and felted baby boots. It’s a pattern of my own which I’m working on, off and on, here and there. They are fastened with velcro at the sides/backs of the booties.

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I attached the velcro with the same wool (fishermens), sewn on by hand. The velcro is sewn along the back of the ankle section and the edges of the front flaps. I’m unsure, at this point, if I chose correctly when I put the ‘hook’ section on the fronts and the other section on the back.

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These have been given to my husband’s friend for his new baby boy. He’s going to be my first test wearer πŸ™‚ On a side note, his little daughter has a pair of my felted slippers (the pattern I made late last year and am still working on) and she LOVES them…they are the only slippers she’s ever worn!! πŸ™‚ She calls them her ‘ballerina shoes’ and was QUITE impressed with them! I single stranded my ladies medium size and felted them down for her little feet.

I also made the grandchild to be a couple things…

Some braided balls to play with;

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I found the pattern, free on ravelry. It’s called the gevlochten bal.

And, a little improvised sweater, in sock yarn, on 3.25 mm needles;

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I have a few ends to weave in and some blocking to do before it’s completely finished.

Do You See Socks?

I see socks.

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I’m planning to ply the darker tone with the brighter tone and I think they’ll be beautiful! Or at least the yarn will be, lol, since I can’t promise to actually KNIT socks in the near future.

I’m working on the skeins of reclaimed ‘unspun’ I dyed – I don’t know that I’ll finish them all though, probably I’ll store some of it for later too. This one was kettle dyed with yellow/orange/copper wiltons icing dye. I’m so happy it didn’t felt a bit – I can still draft the fibre even though this comes from the part of the sweater I had to frog!

The summer is HERE, all the kids are out of school and my second daughter has graduated high school. I was a very proud mama last night! She is heading to college in the fall and I’m so happy for her πŸ™‚

969 Yards!

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I think I have enough for my sweater. LOL, now if only I can fit it in, time wise! I found a really nice pattern already written which is exactly what I had in mind…and will work very well (I think) for this handspun yarn. It’s really thick and thin in spots so I’m planning to work with that!

A close up…

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Now, I’m back to cleaning…it’s SUPER CLEANING DAY here, lol, ’cause I have been too busy quilting and spinning and whatnot to get anything done these last few days. Doesn’t everyone include washing their newly spun wool with their cleaning day?!

I really need some cleaning elves…

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 πŸ™‚

Bittersweet Socks

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Can you see the problem?

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Yep, two balls of araucania ranco multy. No dye lots. Different colour balance. Crap. One sock is very purple…one has a very purple foot and a really blue leg, lol.

But, since I’m extremely anti-frog…I’m going to keep them the way they are. The alternative (and an option if they bug me enough) is to frog both socks and mix the two skeins together by knitting a few rows of one and then a few rows of the other.

The moral of the story? ALWAYS check the two skeins – preferably in the daylight – to check the colour balance. I’m sure, had I done so, that it would have been obvious!

I don’t usually stress about these kinds of mistakes – it’s good enough for me that I know what happened and that I won’t do it again in the future. I’ll always look at this pair of socks in a bittersweet way…

The knitting is beautiful and even. The lace is gorgeous. The fit is perfect. The. Colour. Is. Off.

Link to the free pattern – Lacy Cables Knee Socks

I Love This Sock!

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It’s the first of my Lacy Knee Socks. A few better pictures…

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I worked a couple repeats fewer than the pattern calls for before beginning shaping and then shortened and modified the diamond shaped increase area. I kept a lot of notes – separated into pattern repeats so I can easily follow them on the second sock (or the second, third or fourth pair, really). A big job to knit but well worth it. I think the ribbing I added will keep them from falling down at all — they’re a perfect fit. πŸ™‚

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So Not Socks!

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This is my version of ‘Tempest‘ from knitty by Ann Weaver. I followed the pattern advice and went with negative ease (28″ bust – I am a 32/34) and I love how it fits – other than I wouldn’t mind it a little longer, maybe by a couple stripes or so…

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I used two balls of sock yarn – one ‘ranco multy’ and one austermann ‘step’. What an awesome alternative to socks!! I’m so glad I didn’t use these up before now πŸ™‚ The ranco was a birthday gift I recieved last February and I’ve had the step even longer, lol. Now, instead, I have this beautiful sweater!

I made a few modifications;

*knit the body in one piece up to the armhole shaping.
*knit the sleeves in one piece and lengthened them to long sleeves, decreasing the amount of stitches cast on.
*lengthened the body at the waist by two small stripes.

Then I spent the entire afternoon sorting buttons from the vintage button stash. I found some nice copper buttons and used those…

I can’t believe I finished this in four days! Of almost constant work, mind you…

Who Knew?

I finished up the second mitten this morning and learned something I had no idea about!

I’m a knitter who has learned from books and by reading on the internet I’ve learned so much more BUT I had no idea that floating a colour on the bottom vs the top of the main colour had such a BIG effect on the results!

I’ve learned that I like to float the pattern colour on the bottom and let the main colour be on top. It makes the pattern colour so much more prominent!

These are the fronts – you can’t quite see the difference, or at least not as well…

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And the backs…LOL…where you can surely see the difference!!!

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The one on the right…I like that one πŸ™‚ It has the coloured floats held to the bottom. The one on the left? Not so much. Black is the prominent colour and the brights are almost lost. They are staying as is though…a learning experience and I’m not big on ‘re-dos’.

The moral of the story? Writing down your float orientation IS useful IF you tend to pick up and put down projects or (gasp!) get sidetracked.

Lesson learned πŸ™‚

Pretty Mittens

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I’ve started knitting another pair of mittens (more for Christmas!). I’m using knitpicks ‘palette’ in assorted colours, from my stash. They’re turning out really pretty πŸ™‚ I’m hoping I don’t run short of the black. I definitely need to get myself a bunch more…I love having the palette around for all kinds of colour work and felting. It’s great to have all the colours to choose from! Maybe Santa will bring me some more…

A New Project…

I’ve found another pattern I *need* to knit.

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Pretty huh?

It makes me want to design something geometrical, something of my own…! Another perfect use for the palette sampler pack I’ve been knitting down. I couldn’t sleep last night, between the wicked thunderstorm, my son’s nightmare, the daschund crying(because of said wicked thunderstorm) and the ideas crowding my brain. Why do all good ideas seem to come at about midnight?

Another find…the Knit On The Net E-zine. Really, HOW did I not hear about this before now — issue #6?!

They offer free patterns, interesting articles, a blog (haven’t checked that out yet), AND (drumroll) they offer a knitters graph paper generator which you can set to your gauge, amongst other things! I’ve yet to read the whole thing but I recommend it to anyone knitterly πŸ™‚

I’m beginning to feel knitters guilt. I look at my wip page on ravelry and it’s like TWO ROWS or so. I haven’t touched the medallion sweater in about a week, nor the apres surf hoodie, NOR my son’s cabled sweater! I keep telling myself it’s ok to play — it’s summer! Pretty soon though — unless I want to stress myself right out — I’ll be getting back to the sweaters. A fair goal is finishing them before fall πŸ™‚

And spinning, I LOVE spinning yet my wheel is sitting dusty while I explore all the OTHER things I love. Soon, dusty baby, soon.

My garden is growing beautifully, especially considering it’s growing on the front steps, in pots on the deck!

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I water frequently (these are the plants I started as seeds in the house this spring) and also fertilize frequently with a vegetable safe fertilizer. I’ve even started to get tomatoes! Some of the tomato flowers are rotting off though – not sure why, maybe too much water? Too much something, I’m sure.

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Great Expectations…

Yeah, lol.

I definitely overestimated the amount of knitting I could get done this week!! Once I gave up on the mission (of finishing the medallion top by tomorrow) I turned to a really GOOD book my friend gave me…

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I’ve only read a little but it’s great so far…I highly recommend it.

I also worked a few rows of the double knit pirates hat…I’m beginning the decreases now (about ten rows earlier than the pattern calls for)

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I’m up to the end of the side slits on the front of the medallion top… (did you know your hands will seize if you knit too much at once – or at least mine were! – maybe it’s because the acrylic has less give)

I’m glad the kids are coming home this weekend…I can’t believe how empty the house is without them…they make our house a home.

I’ve been visiting with my little nephew this week – his first sleepover (oh yes, and apparently I am the best aunt in the world! πŸ™‚ ) We went and bought a pile of books yesterday (25 cents each, who can beat that?) and one of them was ‘critters first sleepover’ – PERFECT! He’s doing fantastic with staying and hasn’t had a meltdown…I’m very proud of him πŸ™‚ Today we’re jumping on the trampoline, taking the dogs for a walk to the school yard and probably going back for more wonderful used books. Mom comes home tonight πŸ™‚

Double Knit!

I’m making ‘We Call Them Pirates’ for my husband, for our anniversary. Probably a funny gift but he doesn’t ‘do’ knits normally and WILL wear a hat in the winter – he works outside. Being Mr. I-Dont-Need-Anything, this should be a good gift!

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I’m substituting Knitpicks ‘palette’ in orange and grey and doing it as a double knit on a larger needle. It seems I’m getting correct guage…we’ll see, lol. This is the first time I’ve knitted anything double knit and I’m in love with the whole concept right now! Very cool way to use up a lot of the palette colours I have…I’ve envisioning hats and mittens and scarves (and days that last 38 hours!). You could do a lot of very cool stuff with this double knit thing πŸ™‚

I found an excellent tutorial here, on how to cast on and cast off. The only thing it took me a minute to grasp was moving the yarns out of the way, keeping them on their ‘own’ sides of the work so the sides remain seperate until yarns are crossed.

It’s going to be a marathon effort today…I highly doubt I can finish before tomorrow, BUT, here’s to trying!

Silky Soft…

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I’m going to have to do a fibre test on this yarn because I’m so curious! It’s a mystery cone from the second hand store. I’m loving the great deals!

I’m using it to make the Apres Surf Hoodie from the summer IK. My guage is off but I’m going ahead with it anyways…the yarn is a little on the fine side of sock weight. It is so SOFT that I can’t figure out what it is. I’ve never felt cashmere but I’m wondering. Or maybe it has silk in it. It’s going to be the most beautiful sweater, that much I do know πŸ™‚ The drape is excellent!

Pretty Lace Socks…

I’m all done the Child’s Lace Socks I’ve been working on and I’m happy with them πŸ™‚Β 

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Not sure where they’ll end up, lol, as myΒ kids are too big for them — still I couldn’t resist and wanted to make up a pattern to use up the last bits of the candy stripe yarn.

The pattern is available in my pages.Β  It’s a pretty simple lace and easy to get the hang of within a few rows.

My daughter has made some BEAUTIFUL things in one of her art classes this year…

The girl has talent!
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And, another daughter…wearing the Shetland Shorty shrug I made her for graduation…

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A 50 Cent Shetland Shorty Shrug!

I used a mystery yarn to make this pattern from knitty.Β  The yarn was found at a second hand store for 50 cents.Β  It has a tag which reads “product number 2L935, 2/6 merino yarn, 100% wool, shade moss, product of Canada, Imported and Distributed by Gerald H Whitaker Ltd/Inc Canada/USA”

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I didn’t know for sure if there was enough yardage to make this BUT there was MORE than enough πŸ™‚

It’s for my daughter’s grad, to go over her dress in church… (her dress is teal)

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I’m trying to finish things up…too many wips for me!! I’m working on my little lace socks right now and then want to finish spinning the first two plies for the (possibly) cabled yarn I was trying to spin.

If I ever finish these things all up, I’m going to reward myself by knitting the apres surf hoodie from the new IK. I have some fuzzy yarn in my stash that looks just right πŸ˜‰

Β 

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Trying Something New…

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I want to make a cabled sock yarn πŸ™‚ It’s something I haven’t tried yet! I’d really like it if I get enough yardage to make something more than socks, like a little shrug or something. That’s why I’m spinning on full bobbins EVEN THOUGH it means winding the first plied ply into a centre pull ball.

I need to figure out what the colours in the next two plies will be. I’m not sure if I should lighten it up by leaning on the pinks/lavendars or if I should go darker with some navy/black/red. I could always even it out with one dark ply and one light. I also have shades of grey which might go very nicely with the pinks.

Choosing colours is the hardest part!

One really cool bit of news! I may be getting a weaving loom πŸ™‚ Long story but as I understand it the lady who has it got it from Seneca College when they discontinued their weaving program and it’s on the condition that it MUST be passed on to someone who will use it. I’ll update on this later when I know whats what…hopefully when I have the lovely thing πŸ™‚ I’m already excited and I don’t know for sure I’ll be getting it, lol.

Have a great day!