Archives

Most Excellent! Textured Estonian Knitting Stitches….So Much Fun!!

Happy Wednesday πŸ™‚

So, having checked out my ‘attendence’ for last year with this blog, I have decided to commit to twice monthly posts, at a minimum, I promise!

DSC_7589

It’s been a hectic time for me, lol – new job and then a promotion to another new job within just a few months, lots of training, and uptraining, lots of pressure and lots of getting sidetracked on projects — NOT getting much actually ‘done’ but having fun for a little while with things I haven’t yet finished. Maybe even a few I will never finish. I have begun to suspect I am what I have heard called a ‘process knitter’. I will often start a new project because I am interested (or possibly fascinated by lol) in a particular technique or stitch or whatnot. Once I’ve ‘experienced’ or learned the method/stitch/whatever quite often I’m good.

DSC_7588

This year for Christmas I got a Kobo tablet and have been collecting a few very nice knitting resources for it – I figure that I can take projects on the go a lot easier this way and that works for me! Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could work more time into our days?

DSC_7587

The stitches pictured above are from a great tutorial with pdf written patterns provided as well as a great video demo of the stitches done by the sweetest lady ever! I purchased it as a digital download from The Interweave Store; “Creative Estonian Knitting” by Merike Saarniit — Textured stitches to swatch and explore. Just one thing though – the video did not play on my kobo and I watched it on my laptop. Not at all an issue for me but something that one should know going in. The pdf works great in my Adobe reader app on the tablet.

I love how the stitches are so textured and how they flow. The tutorial does not instruct you on how to build the blanket but instructs on how to work the basic stitches and helps one see how to expand on the subject matter — Merike does a fantastic job of giving you that ‘I can DO this’ feeling. I consider myself an advanced knitter and still appreciated having the video tutorial and would definitely recommend it. A lot of fun and something to use up that left-over yarn from your other projects!

Another thing I am working on is a spinning project – some beautiful baby suri alpaca blended with bombyx silk from india which is going to become a wonderful pair of silky stockings when it grows up!

A couple pictures of the blend….

DSC_7585

DSC_7586

Ok, so time to knit…or spin…or something πŸ™‚

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

DSC_6942

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!

silk,wool,camel

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.

glove project

the pink bunny wool (angora/silk)

Thankfully winter is a few months away!

What Could Be More Fun Than A Fresh New Fleece?!

I’m a little behind, here, and haven’t shown what I’ve been up to lately! Β My apologies, my friends! Β Work and family and (lets face it!) spinning have been getting in the way…

044

This is a beautiful fleece I purchased from mmfwool. It’s a cormo/merino cross and just awesome to work with – lovey crimp and length and so very, very soft.

Here’s how it looks cleaned up…(it only took one wash, two rinses);

The clean white cormo/merino cross - mmfwool

And how it came out after combing…

combed cormo/merino cross - mmfwool

cormo/merino cross/mmfwool

I’ve also been blending – I treated myself to some excellent bits of fiber recently…

luxury fibers - yak,camel, camel, cashmere, llama/cashmere, bombyx silk

I’ve made some really soft yarns in all shades of natural…

luxury blends - cashmere/wool, camel/woo/silk/cashmere, camel/wool, camel/wool/llama/silk,

luxury blends continued - camel/yak/wool, llama/cashmere/silk/wool/yak

I’ve just received another beautiful fleece, a grey cormo cross which is actually even MORE beautiful and super fine.

DSC_6883

cormo cross -  mmfwool - soft and fine!

I’m washing this more carefully than I’ve ever washed a fleece — by the handfull almost, in a wire basket in a LOT of water, simmering on the stove for 20 minutes then two rinses in super hot tap water with some boiling water mixed in. Absolutely NO agitation.

The first batch came out excellently!

A little clean wool

A dilbert lock - mmfwool - cormo cross

I’m surrounded in fleecy goodness! If you are interested, please visit my little handspun yarn shop. Β Have an excellent day!

The Beautiful Birthday Wool And Other Fun Stuff

Good Morning!

Yes, again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted πŸ™‚ 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….

046

I blended the fibres with hand cards and, voila!

052

054

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

018

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

014

042

The kids have been enjoying march break!

057

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…
003

012

020

022

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 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.

100_3281

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)

100_3274

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!

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…

100_2010

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…

Spinning To Order…

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

100_1264

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.

100_1266

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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ 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!