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This Yarn Is Delicious!

Closeup rambo/suri blend laceweight handspun yarn

I spun this 2 ply out of rambouillet blended with baby suri alpaca on hand cards. It turned out so soft it doesn’t even feel like wool!

Baby suri alpaca

Rambouillet Fleece

suri/rambo blended on hand cards

Also the colour is lovely – chocolate and tan with a bit of a shine! It has a really rich look and I love it.

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I’m working on a pair of gloves for winter…I’ll keep you updated πŸ™‚

Have a great day!

If you might be interested in purchasing my handspun yarn, please visit handspunyarn.wordpress.com

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!

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™‚

What’s New? Spring Cleaning….Fleece!

Good morning!

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It’s been so long….

Spring is here and I’ve been busy πŸ™‚ Seems spring always makes one want to DO more – and some of us have a different take on spring cleaning! I’ve had several fleeces sitting for a while — some since last summer! I don’t know if I posted about it last fall but I have some absolutely beautiful long staple alpaca…dusty dusty stuff with some burr issues as well. It’s got a staple of about 8 inches as it was a long time between shearings and it is SUPER soft – lovely lovely lovely. Irreplaceable really. Fortunately, lol, I started out with about 14 pounds and there is no end in sight yet.

Unwashed…
alpaca - prewashing

Combed out for debris, but not yet washed…
raw alpaca lock 8 - 9 inches

Final product – rovings are clean and pulled from my combs…
alpaca -- combed

There is also the ‘meat’ sheep wool which I was given last year – in black and white – waiting to get a good soak and a wash. The wool comes out nice but the dirt is incredible – sometimes free looks like an excellent price. There is a large bin full of that waiting for me on the porch.

Oh yes, and a basset hound too…
Tired Basset

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My baby grandson has had his first birthday – still the cutest baby in the world with the BEST smile πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday Baby

His other grandma has sheep and lambs and has very generously given me three bags of wool (I jokingly asked for ‘three bags full’ lol) – the first is lamb (three fleeces I think), the second is yearling (two to three fleeces) and the third bag is adult (haven’t counted them but I believe it holds two fleeces).

Grandma wool - three bags full

The lamb, unwashed…
Lovely lamb

The yearling, unwashed (or possibly the adult)…MUCH dirtier than the lamb. I plan to soak this in a cold soak for a few days before washing it…
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These fleeces MUST be a mixed breed but are sooooo soft I’m pleasantly surprised! I’ve washed some of the lamb, so far, and it’s coming out lovely. Very short fibers but lovely AND it helped motivate me to learn how to spin short fibers. Happy to say that after two days of utter failure…. I CAN DO IT! πŸ™‚

The lamb…clean…
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Here’s some blended short fibers that I’ve successfully spun…YAY!…it’s camel, yak, silk and lambswool blended on carders and then spun for a two ply thick and thin yarn….(it truly is soft as butter)
short fiber mix - camel etc.

I’ve sold one of my spinning wheels – the Bordua that I bought last fall – to a really nice Ravelry member who will truly appreciate her. I’ve also begun selling some handspun wool yarn and some spinning fiber (the above mentioned alpaca) through my local kijiji. I definitely spin more than I knit and the wool is piling up!

Some recently spun yarns…
handspun yarn
(Left to right…lambswool, spun from the lock very finely for a four ply fingering weight yarn; alpaca, spun from combed fiber, two ply; grammalamb spun two ply; the soft as butter blended camel 2ply; a skein of laceweight, handdyed silk two ply approx 800 metres.)

Oh – Almost forgot! There IS news on the knitting front….

lamb, silk, alpaca mix for socks - three ply

I’ve spun 900 metres of silk/lambswool/alpaca (in approximate thirds, blended on carders and then spun fine for a three ply lace weight) to make a really beautiful pair of lace knitted stockings. So pretty, so impractical. Of course I had to have them πŸ™‚ I’ve only just begun the knitting but it’s coming along well…

socks!

Lace Stockings - heel detail

As if that isn’t enough, I’ve also been working on some orifice hooks…
orifice hook - loves red

Flowers on a spiral

I am also working on the spinning wheel at the beginning of this post – she needed a few things and a bit of a facelift. I should have pictures to share very soon πŸ™‚ I believe she is a german parlor wheel but who knows for sure…

And just because…I’ve decided it’s time to make a quilt. A really special quilt I’ve had a picture for for ages…known to me and those that know me as “THE ONE”. It begins something like this….

Tammys Quilt

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™‚

The Snowdrift Sweater!

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Check it out πŸ™‚

I had this idea in my head for a while and finally felt like spending the time to make it. It’s seamless (my favorite) and bottom up. I didn’t use any exact ‘method’ to shape the sleeve caps — unless ‘guess-as-you-go’ is a method, lol. A little bit of raglan shaping, a little bit of set in sleeve shaping and a few short rows to make it all work. Not bad, if I do say so myself. It’s my very first sweater design πŸ™‚

The slippers were driving me nuts!! You can really only knit about 18 pairs before you want to run screaming down the street. You may have guessed, I’ll be putting off the rest of my slipper-test-knitting until after Christmas (…if then, the way I feel right now). The slipper pattern itself seems to be excellent but I’m trying to test knit every size in different wools for a true pattern test. I’d hate to say that something works if I haven’t tested it myself.

Happy knitting! πŸ™‚

Designing And Stuff

I’ve been searching the web, looking for lace designs/patterns/charts. I’ve found a couple of great resources!

One is Yarn Over. Another is Knitting Fool.

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I’m still working on the coat, sort of ‘off an on’ lol, but yes – working! I’m more than half way through the first sleeve and have, of course, to finish the upper body once the sleeves are done. It’s about now in the pattern where ALL the numbers are wrong, because of my different gauge, so there’s much more work to figuring it out. I’ll get there πŸ™‚

I’m also dreaming of a pair of really fine lace socks. Hence the web search. I’ll likely use little tiny needles and lace weight yarn (I’m thinking the handspun rambouillet). I’m looking for an itsy bitsy lace pattern which fits…

Oh, yes – I made a little lace hat for myself, for when the weather gets cooler this fall. It was a free pattern (available at the canadian living site) but is from the book Runway Knits. Very cute! Sideways lace and cables…

The ‘Ingenue Hat’ (by Berta Karapetyan)

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The silk I used is ‘shire silk’ and it’s as light as air. I may have to find some time and make the matching scarf – also free on the site and also beautiful!

A Little Shetland Lace Cardigan

Using my handspun!

Remember the shetland fleece I bought earlier this year?
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I washed it, combed it – seperated the down coat from the coarse outer coat, and spun the down into a nice, lofty two ply.

handspun shetland

I wanted a little sweater – it’s really soft and I’m not overly sensitive to wool anyways. The Sylph Cardigan by Robin Melanson (Interweave Knits) was perfect. Or at least close to perfect! I downsized it, one size. I also continued the lace pattern throughout and knitted on the neckband rather than sewing it on later. I reshaped the sleeves a bit when downsizing. I like them well fitted.

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I love how it turned out!

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I Have To Have This Camp Shirt!

Now that I’m done surgery (and healing well I’m happy to add!) and my 40th birthday has passed uneventfully…I wanted to do something for me. A little personal pat on the back…

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Nice, isn’t it?

I’m using some yarn I spun for the project, superwash merino laceweight in the colour ‘sapphire’, mill ends purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. My yarn came out thick and thin (doesn’t it always?) and is roughly lace/light fingering weight. It seems to be working out well in this sweater though I’m pretty sure my guage is off. I’m making the smallest size so there’s a bit of room for that guage issue.

I really don’t tend to worry very much about getting guage and I’m usually pretty lucky.

A little peek…

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The colour is off…it’s brighter than the picture shows but it’s so blah here today I’m doubting it’s the day for a better picture…

Check out the newest gadget I’ve reassigned to spinning…

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It’s actually a tiered knit dryer with mesh that fits over the bars…I found it at a discount store for about 8 bucks last weekend. I think it’s ideal as a yarn dryer as well, on it’s side like it is!

It’s currently drying a skein of laceweight (for the camp shirt) and some yarn I’ve spun for the African Adventure blanket. That blanket is surely sucking up the yarn, lol. I’ve got good news…it’s not abandoned, just in transition while I respin each colour for it.

Esther!

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These are my Esther socks…they’re made of knitpicks ‘risata’ and are so comfy cozy! I like them enough that I may make another pair, SOMETIME, lol. It seems not a day goes by when I don’t have a few more ideas…

I’d like to make a pair of kneesocks that I found a pattern for.

I’d like to design a little cardigan with some finely spun handspun – I can picture it perfectly – now whether I’ll find the time (or take the time) to design it, we’ll see.

I’d like to try some crochet lace a la Antonina K. I saw her work for the first time recently and I’m enthralled! Beautiful!! So enthralled that I pulled out some crochet cotton and my hooks a couple days ago. You know how I had nothing on the go? LOL.

I’d like to finish the mittens for my daughter – they need thumbs!

I’d like to finish spinning the bobbin I started after Christmas with the new rovings. Better yet, to spin a second ply so I can use the yarn to make those socks or design that cardigan…hmmm…

So many, many things I’d like to do, start, finish in 2009. Looks like it’ll be a busy year πŸ™‚

A Couple Christmas Scarves

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This is the ‘Stolen Moments Wrap’ by Amy Swenson, a free pattern that I found on ravelry. I used moda dea ‘cache’ in serengeti – a nice mix of naturals with a little gold thread to spice it up. I loved the pattern, it was easy, quick and beautiful. Perfect for a Christmas gift.

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This is the ‘Buttonhole Scarf’ by Sande Prosser – pattern #37 in the Vogue Knitting Fall 2008 issue. I LOVE how it looks woven and I chose this yarn because the colour seems to suit the pattern perfectly. It’s sport weight so I went down to a 4 mm needle and the scarf will be narrower than the pattern lists. I think this will be for one of the boys – unless I think it too ‘girly’ – in that event there are plenty of girls to choose from! πŸ™‚

I’ll be the lady knitting Christmas presents like a maniac while watching Christmas movies with the kids all day…

Silk!

So, I’m sure we’ve all done it. Bought that beautiful yarn – that ‘must have’ – and then discovered that it’s not so easy finding the ideal use for it.

My most glaring example are the ten balls of Plymouth Shire Silk in sea green in my stash. Had to have them. Love the feel. The texture. The nubbiness.

Yet every single thing I’ve tried to knit with them has been frogged.

I’ve had them for two years now! A sweater’s worth of silk without a purpose.

Silk is warm, strong, resists mold and mildew while being very absorbant and is VERY lightweight. So…I’m trying it in a scarf…

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It’s working out beautifully! Sure, I won’t have enough left for most sweaters but at this point I’m just really happy to find a use for it. Not sure it’ll do for a matching hat – we’ll see…

A Quick Knit Lace Scarf

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I had an inspiration this weekend so, of course!, I had to try it out…this scarf was inspired by a stitch I saw and liked. The best part? It’s completely done by knitting and working yo’s which are then dropped on the following row! Really pretty, really simple, really satisfying πŸ™‚ I think it would be a great project for any knitter.

The pattern is in my pages, if you’d like to make it πŸ™‚

I Feel Like Getting Cozy

So I’ve decided that my cone of silky wool (unknown really but I can tell it is natural fibres and very very soft) wants to become a Laminaria shawl!

It’s perfect for a shawl and there is lots of it on the cone. I can’t wait to cuddle up in this πŸ™‚ I’m using a 4 mm needle and I like how it drapes so far.

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Of course, this means I had to frog the apres surf hoodie I was working on – πŸ™‚

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What A Surprise…

it’s raining again! LOL, we haven’t had many days without this summer. Even though the geniuses who predict these things said ‘hottest driest summer ever’. Yeah, right.

I’ve been knitting like mad trying to finish the first Winter Twilight mitt…

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Mine are coming out more ‘Winter Sunset’ but whatever I call them, they are beautiful!!! It’s like a little adventure, seeing how the colours are combining and working out. My violet rose handspun is coming out in stripes of colour — totally unplanned and excellent!

When I spin, I don’t keep track at all — I can’t explain how I do it because it’s all done by feel and I add the colours randomly in. I spin by instinct, I suppose…

Shadows — All Spun Up!

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I’m calling it ‘Shadows Handspun’.

This is the yarn I was spinning for the trees in the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern. I used blue and black superwash merino. The first ply in blue only, the second using both colours in my ‘fake hand paint’ method. I was so unsure as I spun it but I love it now! πŸ™‚

I have 440 metres!

Ah, AND, LOL, I made a drastic mistake when I calculated the yardage on the Violet Rose — I left out a whole hundred wraps!

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(see the little ‘116’? I don’t know how but I counted that as ’16’)

So, it is really 645 metres, not 520.

The yarn is soaking at the moment…can’t wait to get it dried and ready to knit!

Perfect…

I’ve had a skein of two ply handspun sitting on the bobbin for a while. I was originally planning to use it to make a cabled sock yarn – it was a technique I hadn’t tried yet (and still haven’t, for that matter!).

However….

Now I’ve found the perfect pattern for it! It’s the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern by Laura Rintala, available as a free download on the Knitting Daily website.

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I wish you could see the shine…the yarn has a really nice sheen to it and it’s so soft!

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The yarn is superwash merino spun from mill ends bought at my favorite shop, The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. I spun the skein in my ‘fake hand paint’ way using various colours. There are 520 metres (yay me) on the skein, so more than enough.

I’m planning to spin some black superwash – maybe mix in some dark gray – for the main colour.

I’m excited πŸ™‚ It’ll be good to get back to the wheel too! I polished her up this morning in anticipation of our upcoming time together…she’s so much prettier when she’s not all dusty.

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™‚

Lots On The Go…

I think it’s the project-itis acting up again, lol. I’ve started the Medallion Top (#31) from the Spring/Summer Vogue for my best friend and that means I have FOUR projects on the go!

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I’m praying that I have enough yarn. I’m using a mystery stash yarn (Eaton’s ‘perle’ acrylic) and don’t even know for sure how much is on each ball.

The double knit pirates hat is coming along…it’s now in second place since dh can’t wear it until summer is over anyways. The Medallion Top I’m hoping to finish before next weekend. Yes – 9 days. Then there is the silky soft apres surf hoodie (FOR ME!) — I’d really like to be wearing that asap. Finally, my son’s handspun cable sweater. Deadline on that one is August so I’m doing ok πŸ™‚

Ok, off to knit. I’m about halfway to the armhole shaping on the back so far. I LOVE the lace – ok, most lace! – and I’m finding it easy to follow the pattern now πŸ™‚

This May Take A While!

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The hoodie is coming along beautifully πŸ™‚ I LOVE the lace way more than I expected I would. It’s so great when this happens! Now here’s hoping the size is correct (I foolishly didn’t adjust my stitch count to the guage I’m getting with this yarn)…as far as I can tell it should be ok and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I can always start again, it’s only knitting, lol.

It’s a slow knit for me…I’m just now at the beginning of the increases for the back.

It was the last day of school today… πŸ™‚

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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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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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