Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Went to my first Knitsmiths knitting group, which happened to be a yarn swap. Look what I walked away with:

Knitsmiths swap goodies

Just think: it's less than what I brought. Crazy, hunh?

From top:
Jaegar Odessa in silver grey with sparklies, which may become a shawl
Patons Cotton dk in lilac and white, mebbe a baby sweater
Cascade 220 in a nice red, to play
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in yellow, will probably end up in a felted slipper
Manos Cotton Stria in white and roses, to play
Rowan Rowanspun dk, to play
Brown Sheep Nature Spun in various bright colors, either a felted project (fishies?) or a sweater for my niece

I get so freaked out being in a large group of new people, esp when they all know each other. But they were very friendly and there's always the knitting to focus on. Besides the Yarn Harlot's book tour stop in Acton, MA earlier this year, this is the largest group of knitters I've been around. The main difference is that I actually talked to some of them. I bet some of them were at that event, too.

It was fun to see what everyone else was working on. I wonder how many knitted pieces were in the room? For each knitter, a different preference, for colors, texture, pattern, technique. And I suppose that's what makes a yarn swap work -- what someone doesn't like, won't use, can't stand, someone else will love, be inspired, pet. You drop off your dirty laundry and pick up someone else's clean. Playing dress up with your stash.

Here's what I worked on:

Modular afghan-in-progress

It's gonna be an afghan, one of my guilt projects. The basic pattern is from Colinette's Ab Fab Afghan. The yarn, color and placement are mine. Can you see the sparklies? I added a purple sparkly carry along yarn with the mohair for a few rows, I luvs it. I finished most of the 3rd diamond today; after the 3rd, each additional diamond is built from stitches picked up from previous diamonds.

Here's a so-so picture of the to-be-felted slippers for my niece:

Felted Slippers - prefelted

The dark purple is not so flat. Maybe my camera, daylight and I will cavort tomorrow.

The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky; I added nylon eyelash handdyed by Danette Taylor for the cuff. Think she'll like it? (She's 6.)

I finished knitting the silk merino scarf last night, just need to block it out and sew in the ends. I was hoping to wear it to the swap, but then realized it would need to be blocked anyway. I was thinking steam blocking, maybe 1/2 the length at a time. It's so soooft.

Silk merino scarf - unblocked

I was "in town" (Boston) yesterday afternoon, so I figured I'd stop by Mind's Eye Yarns before heading home. Lucy, the proprietress (is that the right word?) pointed out the Ashland Joy, parked it in front of me and gave me the keys! Wheeee! After I got used to the "patting your head and rubbing your stomach" sensation of doing so many things at once, I relaxed and realized I was making yarn. And man, I was making it so much faster and easier! Gotta get me one of dem wheels.

I liked the double treadle. Tried the other line she carries (Schacht?), which was a single treadle, and did not like the feel so much. I think I'm a double treadle kinda gal.

I was going to buy some roving but I'm really into the handdyeds right now, and without a wheel I don't want to get the ... what are they called ... the combed silky kinds. Rather get roving. So, picked up some white merino roving and decided to give a go at Koolaid dyeing.

What I realized: 4 oz of roving is a heck of a lot!! This from a spindle spinner who purchased a bunch of 50g bags, one 4 oz bag of merino-silk, and a few 2 oz bags of luxury fibers. Well, maybe 4 oz to any spindle spinner is a lot... but for me, getting through a 50g bag is an accomplishment! Can't imagine buying POUNDS of fiber... but it will happen soon enough.

Shutter happy

Took some more photos of the yarn I've spun. They're on flickr and you can see them here. I'm getting much better at the manual focus thing, but I sure could use some lessons in photography. Some natural light in this house would help, too! I like having bright rooms and workspaces, but Scott (the new hubby) is very photosensitive and is prone to migraines. We compromise, so neither of us is quite happy, hehe.

The house is surrounded by trees and the placement of windows is not the best, AND we tend to sleep in and miss the best sunlight. So I guess I have a few barriers to taking great photos...

I love the photos on Felicia's blog, sweet georgia. Besides the nice light and things being in focus, her composition is really nice too.

Back to the horse and buggy...

Tried my hand at tussah silk last night, HATED IT. Maybe I need experience, or a wheel, but man, how do you draft consistently??? Or at all??? I suffered through about 10 yards of it and then gave it up. When I get a wheel or a lot more experience, I'll try again.

13: Tussah Silk

I sought solace in some unknown dyed wool in blue and teal. I had tried it before (my second spun thing ever), with a tight twist, blending the two colors, but this time I spun each separately with minimal twist. I like how it came out, kinda like an icelandic.

14: Handdyed wool

It spun up pretty fast, so I switched to the merino silk blend, which was also my fourth ever spun thing. Amazing what some experience will do for you. My yarn is much more consistent and it goes a lot faster! :)

15: Merino silk

So... what does one do with lots of small amounts of handspun yarns?????

The luscious scarf

Made a little progress on the silk-merino scarf, just took a pic, losing light so it's a bit dark. I'm wondering how long a scarf I can get with the 1 ball. Any bets?

IMG_3037-sq-600x600

I spent a good hour trying to figure out why my first post wouldn't appear. It worked fine on my local test setup, but no matter what I did, just wouldn't show up! Finally, I added a test post and it showed up right away! But the post time was one hour earlier. Aha. Time zone difference. I want my hour back!

Five scarves and a bag

I knit a few rows on a silk-merino scarf I'm modeling after one I saw in London-Wul on my trip to Canada. The yarn is by Danette Taylor, in either Purple Haze or Seaweed. It's coming out lovely, but not a fan of this yarn on #11 needles. Love the yarn, though. Luscious silk and merino. Yum...

Here are some pictures I took yesterday of recent projects. The first two are knit from handdyed handspun wool from Colorado Sandstone Ranch that I bought on eBay:

Scarf

Once I realized the striping effect of their yarn (I bought 3 different skeins), I wanted a different pattern for the next one that would make it less... stripey. I tried the Short Row Rib scarf on Magknits but the colors were too strong for the pattern (at least for me).

scarf - abandoned

But I liked the three row rib thing going on, so I frogged, cast on length-wise, and did the whole thing in three row rib. The colors are still too bright for me, but I like how they blend more. It's a good length scarf, too, will make a nice gift.

scarfscarf - closeup

Here are a few cashmere scarves that I knit as gifts. All are handdyed by Danette Taylor, and took 2 skeins. (Which is to say, I used 2 skeins and stopped when I ran out. If cashmere weren't so durned expensive, I would probably use 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 skeins.) They are wonderfully soft and buttery, to wear and to knit! They were all knit on #13 needles over 13-14 stitches.

This first is in her Azaleas colorway. This one is going to my mum. Simple seed stitch pattern. One skein is more red, but I wasn't too concerned.

Azaleas Cashmere Scarf

The next two are in her Summer Rain colorway; the first is... hmm, what is it called, elongated seed stitch? I think there's a name for it... The second is just seed stitch. These are "wedding thank you" gifts to be sent out soon.

Summer Rain Cashmere ScarfSummer Rain Cashmere Scarf

And finally, the bag! I knit this on the road and finished it a couple of days before we came home. It was meant for the camera, so in the end, not so useful. Yet. I used Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim, about 1.5 skeins, knit on #5 needles. Liked the yarn, but wasn't so crazy about it on #5's, too small. But, wanted a tight knit so the bag wouldn't stretch out.

Camera Bag

Knit in the round, made it up as I went. This is in its empty state. Kinda hard to take a picture of it with the camera in it... eh? ;-)

That's from "Cats". Okay, probably more info than I wanted to share on my first post... I used to listen to that CD over and over again and again. And I still don't know more than... 25% of the lyrics... and that's probably being generous. Not sure where my CD's are these days, haven't opened that particular box since moving into the house, since there's no place to put them. Ahh, well, one of these days. Maybe now I'm unemployed I'll get some shelves put up.

Website Woes

I spent the better part of the last 24 or 48 hours trying to set up my website with DNN 3.1.1 and CS 1.1 and getting them to play nice together just did not work. So, for now, they share the same database and live as virtual directories under the same domain name, and we'll call it a day. One of these days one or the other will finally figure out how to integrate with the other and the rest of us (whoever we are) will be very happy indeed. Until then... enh, what are you gonna do?

First Handspun Skeins!

I soaked and hung up the rest of the skeins of handspun I made during my trip to Canada. Pictures when they're dry. Here's a picture I took on the trip:

My first yarn

From top, L-R (this is the order they were made): Brown Coopworth single; some blue and teal wool that I tried to combine while drafting, also a single; awesome bulky locks single; I think merino/silk blend single; white Coopworth single; greens/blues/yellow wool, single; more white Coopworth single (much smaller skein, I was getting bored); Fleece Artist dyed blue face leicester navajo plied (my first plying!); more fun locks single; more Fleece Artist BFL navajo plied; a bit of camel 2 ply (my first 2 ply!).

All of these were done in the week and half after I learned, and while honeymooning/vacationing in Atlantic Canada. I learned from Heidi at London-Wul just outside Moncton/Dieppe in New Brunswick, and not only did I have an excellent teacher, I just picked it up like breathing. Well, a little forced breathing there at first. I am truly addicted and can't wait to get a wheel! More pics and details will follow.

Coupla Scarves

Also pinned out a couple of scarves today. Can you tell I'm jobhunting? Below are "Branching Out" from Knitty.com:

Branching Out - blockingBranching Out - close up

and my version of Balloon Scarf from Interweave Knits' Scarf Style. Like my slippered feet?

Balloon Scarf - blockingBalloon Scarf - close up

Haven't figured out how I will post project info yet. Geez, I'm being overambitious adding photos in my first post. But I've got tons of photos from the last couple of months and I've been thinking about starting a blog for ... a long time. All in good time, though, all in good time.

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