Archive for the “yarn” Category

(Read to the bottom for a look at my newest hat pattern, coming out tomorrow! I'm so excited!)

Yesterday I went to the Maryland Alpaca and Fleece show with a carful of friends. It was considerably smaller than May's Sheep and Wool, and also quite a bit colder and windier. I was more than a little tempted to buy a woven blanket and wear it under my coat!

Children hold alpacas in a line, while one is brought forward for judging.

Instead, I bought this skein of DK weight yarn from Shirsty Cat Designs. It's so variegated that I'm not sure what colour to call out; the colourway is "Alstroemeria" and it's got some greens and golds, both dark and light blue, and some eggplant purple in it. The skein is so different from one side to the other that I had to take two pictures of it for my Ravelry stash.

A skein of variegated DK weight yarn.

Now the question is, of course, what do I make with it? I'm leaning towards a floppy hat with a slipped-stitch pattern that will help minimize - or perfectly highlight - the beautiful variations of colour in this yarn. It worked for the yarn I used to make the Acres Wild hat, and I'd like to try something similar.

A skein of variegated DK weight yarn.

It was so cold and windy that I got to wear my newest hat, which is super warm thanks to a triple layer of wool over my ears. Here's a sneak peek at it:

Me wearing my new Crossing Trails hat

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In preparation for the Great Sweater Spin (the custom blend of fibre I ordered from World of Wool) I busied myself by finishing the spinning project I already had going and knocking out a new one as well.

Michael's mom gave me four ounces of this yak-silk blend from Greenwood Fiberworks a few years ago, and after a lot of waffling over whether I'd be able to do justice to the fibre by spinning it, I stripped it into lots of stripes, spun it as finely as I could while still remaining mostly consistent, and chain-plied it to maintain the colour sequence. It came out to 258 yards when I was done.

skein of fingering-weight yak-silk yarn in reds, browns, greens and blues

This was a tricky spin. The silk fibres tended to slide out first, leaving me with small clumps of yak to deal with. I think that splitting it lengthwise actually helped quite a bit with that, though. Originally, I'd wanted to pull it apart the other way and spin all the blue together, all the red together, etc. It became obvious pretty quickly that I'd need to change my plan. Now I'm considering spinning an equal amount of white silk and knitting a moebius cowl in two-colour brioche...

Closeup view of a fingering weight yak-silk blend

Next, I had six sample ounces of Buoy Blend from Hipstrings. I organized them in a gradient from light blue to dark blue, then from dark purple to light pink, and split the middle four colours in half. The light blue and light pink, I pulled one third off. Then, to offset the colour shift in the yarn, I spun one bobbin that started with a smaller amount of light blue and ended with a larger amount of light pink, and a second bobbin that started with the larger amount of light blue and ended with the smaller amount of light pink.

I think it worked, but I would try to be even more precise if I were to do this technique again.

skein of two-ply yarn in a gradient from pink to purple to blue

I really enjoyed spinning this yarn, and I'm also glad that I got a sample of it instead of enough for a whole sweater. It's soft, but a little hairy and I'm not sure I'd want to wear it next to my skin. The finished skein is 320 yards, and I think this is going to make an excellent wrap, knit on large needles for an airy, lacy look. Hopefully there's enough of it to do what I want!

closeup picture of two-ply yarn

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A very kind Raveler sent me a bit of their leftover yarn so that I could finish the Textured Socks. So finally, almost a year after I started them, they are done! Hooray!

I used the free Stanton pattern and just over one skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Smokey Mountain Morn colourway. The pattern was well-written and easy to follow, though I made a few adjustments: lengthening the toe slightly and widening the heel turn. I chose to keep the stitch pattern down the back of the heel flap, but slipped the first stitch on every row to make picking up the gusset easier. The stitch pattern is quickly memorized, and gives a good all-over texture that adds interest to the spirals of this variegated yarn. It draws in a bit like ribbing, so these socks should fit snugly.

Apparently Socks that Rock Lightweight now comes in a larger skein than when I bought this yarn - 405 yards instead of 360. The price has gone up to match, but at least if I decide to use the yarn again, I'll have a better chance of getting a whole pair of socks out of one skein.

One of the older, smaller skeins is still in my stash, in the "Moss Agate" colourway. If anyone wants to buy it from me, I'll send it on. $23 includes shipping anywhere in the continental United States; I'll have to do the math on postage to other countries. It's quite pretty but now I know from experience that it just won't make socks big enough for me.

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This is the official end of 2016 tallying-up post!


Incoming fibre in 2016:
Split half of an eight-pound MDSW fleece with Caroline
---
4 pounds, not accounting for weight lost to the washing and carding process

2016MDSW_with_fleece

Outgoing fibre in 2016:
6 ounces of Ashland Bay Merino Tussah became 353 yards of two-ply yarn
4 ounces of Sheepish Creations Merino/Bamboo/Nylon became 348 yards of two-ply yarn
---
10 ounces / 701 yards

20160710_wheel-and-tour


Incoming yarn in 2016:
1 ball Sugar 'n Cream to make Michael a new washcloth (150)
1 ball Red Heart Buttercup to make a stuffed sheep (63)
1 skein Valley Yarns Huntington for white toes on the Tiger socks (218)
1 skein Cascade 220 for Karlin's hat (220)
---
4 balls / 651 yards

tiger_sock

Outgoing yarn in 2016:
1 skein Cascade 220 for Karlin's hat (220)
half a ball of Red Heart Soft, so my SIL can learn to crochet (128)
Leftover Jacob handspun for Dave's Sheep (50)
Leftover Andean Treasure for Dave's Sheep (25)
Half a ball of Red Heart Buttercup for Dave's Sheep (30)
1 ball Sugar 'n Cream to make Michael a new washcloth (150)
1 ball Opal Rainforest, for the Tiger Tiger socks (465)
2 balls Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192 each)
1 ball handspun Fiber Optics yarn for the Gradient Hat (152)
---
7 balls / 1412 yards


The Year in Crafting:
I feel really good about my projects this year! I got a lot done, and more yarn out than in. (Can't say the same about fibre, but hey, I bought half a fleece...) Everything I did this year is all together on a 2016 Projects page.

Favourite project:

Without a doubt, the Wee Sheepie.

20161018_sheep

Plans for Next Year:
More knitting! :D

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This is the official end of 2015 tallying-up post!


Incoming fibre:
---
None. Zero, zip, zilch. That took a lot of willpower!

Outgoing fibre:
4 ounces Bonkers merino-tencel, spun into 250 yards of two-ply
4 ounces Bullens Wullens merino-silk-bamboo, spun into 105 squooshy yards of chain-ply
4 ounces Rambouillet, spun up forever ago, finally chain-plied into 268 yards
quite a lot of mystery wool, spun longdraw, 922 yards of two-ply
---
12 oz plus however much mystery wool there is; I didn't weigh it.

20150711_tdf15_plying


Incoming yarn:
1 ball Cascade 220 Superwash in gray (220)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Serpentine (294)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Peppercorn (294)
---
5 balls / 808 yards

Outgoing yarn:
1 ball Cascade 220 Superwash, Dave's Hat (220)
.66 ball Lily Sugar & Cream in Pink Camo for a washcloth (100)
1 ball Knit Picks Andean Treasure for Stef's Handwarmers (110)
1.5 balls Jo Sharp Classic DK wool for my own handwarmers (160)
2 balls Patons Kroy in Summer Moss Jacquard, sold (332)
2 balls "Starry Night" handspun given to Mom (256)
.33 ball Knit Picks Andean Treasure and half a ball each of gray and white Cascade 220 Superwash for Michael's Bicolour Hat (37, 220)
2 balls Noro Silk Garden sock for the Rhinebeck Shawl (656)
1 skein handspun merino/silk for Mom to make a hat for Grandma (170)
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Peppercorn, Michael's new Fleeps (294)
1 ball Berroco Sox for a pair of mindless stockinette socks (440)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)
---
16.5 balls / 3187 yards

Plus, Dad gave me this awesome yarn bowl:
dad_yarnbowl1


The Year in Crafting:
I feel really good about my projects this year! I got a lot done. They're all together on a 2015 Projects page.

Favourite project:
It was a tossup between the Bicolour Hat and this, but I gotta say... it's the Schultertuch. I loved making it! I still don't know when or how or where to wear it, but it's gorgeous and I love just looking at it.

schultertuch_finished


Patterns Published:
Only one this year, the Carved Lines Armwarmers - I'm really happy with the shape of these! I have a bunch of ideas for new patterns too, including a colourwork hat that I charted out a few weeks ago, lacy socks, cabled socks, mittens... it's a long list!

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This is the official end of 2014 tallying-up post!

Pucker Brush BFL

Incoming fibre in 2014:
19 oz Corriedale in a variety of colours, for drum carding
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel, rust and cream
4 oz Coopworth gradient, greens and purples
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, multi-coloured
4 oz gorgeously luxurious YAK AND SILK braid
---
39 oz

2014_blog-week1

Outgoing fibre in 2014:
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel in blue became 350 yards of two-ply fingering weight.
12 oz Mulberry Fibers (green, pink, and greeny-blue) spun into fingering weight two-ply for a commission.
4 oz Fiber Optic gradient, chain-plied into 152 yards
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, chain-plied into 230 yards
4 oz Sheepish Creations BFL in rainbowy colours, two-ply, 190 yards
---
32 oz (almost! allllmost!)

online_supersocke_paradise-1444

Incoming yarn in 2014:
11 balls Loops & Threads Impeccable (2112)
2 skeins Cascade 220 (440)
4 balls ONline Supersocke 6-ply (1640)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Vintage (459)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Paradise (459)
1 ball Patons Kroy Socks in Navy (166)
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks Stripes in Rainbow (332)
1 ball Berocco Sox (440)
4 balls Plymouth Monte Donegal (436)
1 ball Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (125)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
3 balls Cascade 220 superwash (660)
---
32 balls / 7549 yards

Sekrit Sock

Outgoing yarn in 2014:
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for my Fleeps Redux (294)
2 skeins Cascade 220 for Morry and Shirley's Hats (440)
0.5 skein Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver for Teri's armwarmers (210)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for the Choppy Seas socks (387)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 for the 1986 Socks (459)
1.5 balls Elann Silken Kydd, sold on Ravelry (348)
2 skeins "Starry Night" handspun, given to Mom (256)
5 skeins KnitPicks Swish Worsted, given to Mom (550)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for Kroy Me a Rainbow socks (387)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)
---
20.6 balls / 3803 yards (Way more in than out, but only because I bought the afghan yarn and didn't make the afghan!)

fiber-optics_gradient

The Year in Crafting:
I knit three pair of socks, four hats, and two glove-like things! Not too shabby, eh? They're all together on a 2014 Projects page. There was a lot of spinning too, and I'm pretty excited to knit some of that up next year. I also made a video about how to do yarnovers!

acres_wild4

Favourite project:
Probably the Acres Wild hat. The yarn called out to me so strongly, and I couldn't resist buying it. Then I couldn't resist finding the perfect stitch pattern to show off the variegation, and I couldn't resist working on the project. The way it all came together at the top makes me grin. And I'm really proud of myself for knitting that bit over and over until I got it just right.

Not to mention raising over $200 for charity with sales of the pattern. That was pretty awesome, too.

snowflake1

Least Favourite project:
I got lucky this year and thoroughly enjoyed everything I worked on. There is no least favourite! ...well, maybe the crocheted snowflake. But even that wasn't really *so* bad.

choppy1

Patterns Published:
Choppy Seas, a textured sock pattern - available for free!
Acres Wild, a hat pattern to break up pooling in variegated yarn.

Last Year's Resolutions and Plans:
- spin more, YES!
- knit something with handspun yarn, NOPE
- design and publish two new patterns... YES!
- finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks. I... uh... don't think I knit more than two stripes on the Stripy Socks.
- cast on for fancy cabled knee socks, NOPE.
- use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase... big fat NOPE.
- get some stock in the Etsy shop. Well, I suppose I could list some of the yarn I spun? I did spin three skeins/twelve ounces on a commission, so that does count as selling some of my handspun, doesn't it!

Plans for 2015:

They're just about the same! Let's see how much I can accomplish:

- spin even more
- knit something with handspun yarn
- design and publish two new patterns
- finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
- crochet a blanket
- cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
- use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
- knit a sweater
- and, of course, post to the blog more regularly...

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Last weekend, to kick off the Tour de Fleece, Michael and I stopped at the Mannings on our way from Connecticut to Virginia. (If I'd known it was actually only about 90 minutes from home, I would have gone there sooner!)

We looked at the wheels and the looms and the gorgeous weaving projects in progress...

mannings2

mannings9

mannings12

mannings14

...and then the yarn. I didn't want to leave without a souvenir skein or two, and eventually chose a ball of Austermann Step in a grayish-greenish-blue-ish colourway, and a skein of Cascade 220 Quatro in greys to make a hat for Michael. He wanted something very specific and so I was glad to have him there to pick out the exact yarn he wanted.

mannings1

Here I am being indecisive, but I've already got the ball of Step in my hand.

mannings16

We saw this crocheted spare tire cover on our way out. Very cool!

mannings17

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Yesterday I needed to do some grocery shopping, and my supermarket is in the same shopping center as a Michaels. I was just going to see if they had good afghan yarn, because I'm planning to make a new couch-blanket for Kipling. Then I was just going to take a look at the Sugar 'n Cream colourways, because I'm out of variegated washcloth yarn. Then I saw this yarn, and I'm sorry to report, dear readers, that I said some unprintable words about Patons, right there in the aisle, for continuing to make sock yarn in colours that I cannot resist. The colours, and having a 50% off coupon in one's pocket tends to make resistance a little... well... futile. As they say.

patons_kroy_rusty_stripes

Patons Kroy Socks Stripes, in the "Rusty Stripes" colourway, came home with me yesterday. I called it a treat to celebrate almost having a new job! And after very little resistance, plus some advice from my #ravelry IRC friends about how Kroy is thicker than "standard" sock yarn, I decided to start a toe-up sock on US 2 / 2.75mm needles. I started with a fourteen-loop figure-eight toe and increased to 56 stitches, and knit all evening at Neighbour Sarah's house whilst drinking beer.

This morning, tragedy struck.

rusty_stripes_socks

That is - that WAS - a Brittany birch needle. I commented to Sarah last night how I felt it flexing while I was knitting, and this morning it flexed just slightly past its breaking point. Well, I've another 50% off coupon in my pocket, and I'll be right near another Michaels this afternoon. How about some aluminum needles, this time?

The tricky part will be refraining from bringing more Kroy yarn home with me, especially now that I know how fast it knits up. Broken needle aside, do you see how much sock I knit in just one night? That's a lot of sock! That's only an inch or two from the heel turn. In just one night! Yup. Resistance is indeed futile.

(I should mention that Brittany needles are guaranteed for five years, and I've already filled out the replacement form. That is good customer service!)

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Click to embiggen, of course.

Sheeps!

A bunny and alpacas!

Yarn and adorable little figurines!

Teaching Jen to spin!

What I brought home with me!

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Now, I know some of my Tygershark crew-mates read this blog, and I know how quickly word gets around, so I'm only going to say this: I bought the yarn for a secret project. I'm not going to say who it's for - but the yarn is black, with real (!) silver plied into it, and that should give a big enough hint to those who know. I'm not going to say what the project will be or when I'm going to be able to knit it up, because at the rate things are going it might be two years before I get the chance. But I bought the yarn, and I have a plan for it.

While I was at it, I bought some solid Cascade Heritage sock yarn in navy, which I will need for heels and toes on at least three different pairs of socks which are coming from short-yardage balls, and in white, which I will need for the heels and toes on my tiger-striped socks. And, because I'm a sucker for Cascade Heritage is my favourite sock yarn, and because one more skein of yarn would push me over into the 20% discount territory and therefore make everything cost less than if I didn't buy it, I got a skein of Heritage Paints too.

I could not resist that colourway. It's called "Olympic Forest" (Can they use the forbidden "O" word? Will they be sued by the IOC? Will this be a limited-edition run of a colourway name, or is it okay now that the Games are over?) and it is so very me. Now, I just have to carve out some serious knitting time... more on that tomorrow.

(Pictures are from WEBS, since I don't yet have the yarn.)

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