Traveling Woman – Handspun Version

September 5, 2010

I know I’ve been away from blogging for a bit, and I have a lot to catch up on, but I thought I’d go out of order and show you what I finished and then next post I’ll show you where I’ve been.

So my last post was on August 15, and I show you pictures of the handspun I did – remember?

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I think I mentioned in the post how happy I was with the yarn, and that I really couldn’t wait to use it – and so I made a shawl!

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I finished this last week, and finally blocked it yesterday and got out bright and early this morning to take some pictures.

Pattern:  Traveling Woman Shawl
Yarn:   Gale’s Art BFL Handspun
Started:  August 16, 2010
Finished:  September 1, 2010

I really like the shawl, and of course, using hand-spun was great.  I don’t normally use highly variegated yarns for shawls, but I think this pattern worked with it – the pattern doesn’t get lost in the stripes.   It really looks sort of Noro-ish doesn’t it?    It isn’t super soft, but it’s wearable – I tried it this morning, and didn’t have an issue with it around my neck (I really cropped the picture because I hadn’t showered!).

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This was a great project to take on vacation – the pattern is very easy, and I was able to put it down and pick it up quickly depending on what we were doing without any trouble.  We had a very long ride down to Virginia, and this kept me entertained for a long time.  Even the boring bits of the pattern weren’t too bad because I was enjoying the color changes in the yarn (as well as the feel of it!).

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I think I’m going to keep this  rather than giving it away as I planned when I started it – I think it will add a  little something to a plain white shirt in the fall and be a nice warm scarf to wear in the winter.  I will also like it because it made it start to finish (well, almost start to finish since someone else dyed the roving!), and it was so nice to use handspun that I think  it will motivate me to finish whatever I’m currently spinning.

I’ve been really busy since my last post, and I’ll post some pictures next time from my vacation.  I didn’t get to one yarn store on vacation – I think that’s a first but we didn’t have the time for anything like that.  I did start a new project, and hopefully I’ll have pictures of that soon.

We are working on going through the house and getting rid of things we don’t use.  We are planning on a yard sale in early October, and today we did the basement.  I really can’t believe how much stuff we had down there.  Boxes that we hadn’t opened since we moved in 7 years ago, toys, games, empty cans of paint.  We had a huge pile of things to sell – and an equally huge pile of things to throw out.  But it felt good to get through it all.  Except for the HUGE spiders we kept on encountering (I am not a fan).   Next weekend we are tackling the attic and I think I’m also going to go through my project and yarn stash too.  I have a couple of projects that I haven’t worked on in a while that I need to either frog or finish (I’m leaning towards frogging).   And I want to go through the stash and make sure I only have yarn that I know I’ll use – no point in keeping things that I don’t like.   All of this organizing and decluttering really feels good!  And it makes me never want to buy anything again!

OK, I’m off to play with the dogs – it’s a beautiful day here and I want to get out for a bit.  Have a good weekend!


Crayon Box

August 15, 2010

Do you remember this?

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Now it’s this

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I took advantage of a rainy Sunday afternoon to spin a little, and I not only finished the singles for this, but I plied it all up.  I’m very happy with it, and I am really looking forward to using it.

Roving:  4 oz. Gale’s Art, 100% blue faced leicester, colorway Crayon Box
Weight:  Fingering
Yardage:  362 yards

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I have to say I’m pretty pleased with how even the yarn is – I only had a few small sections where it wasn’t consistently the same and a bit blurpy – and usually that happened when I first sat down to spin each session while I was getting back into, but overall it’s pretty consistent and I’m happy that I’m doing better.  Now I need to spin some 2 ply  laceweight!

I initially thought of using this for socks – I love  socks made from handspun  – there is something so comforting to me about them.  But this isn’t superwash, and I’ve learned that non-superwash socks and me just don’t go together  – I just  threw out a bunch of socks that had felted or shrunk from either going in the wash by mistake or not being hand washed  correctly.  I don’t want to waste this yarn then by making socks that I know will end up getting messed up.  So I decided on a shawl.   I did spend a little time on Ravelry this afternoon looking at patterns, and I think I may do another Traveling Woman shawl with it.  I think it will be beautiful and very cheery colors for the winter.   It’s the perfect yardage and I think the pattern will be able to handle the variegated yarn.  Any other ideas?

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I still have to soak the yarn and dry it – its mostly balanced; just a little off so I think a little weight on it while drying will fix that.  I am going to do it in a little bit  – but it’s so rainy and humid here I think it will take a while to dry.  I’m hoping that it will be dry and ready by tomorrow night though; I’m leaving for a business trip on Tuesday to Tampa, and I thought I’d take it along with me.  I  have other things to work on but I just can’t resist the lure of this yarn!  I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of knitting time, but I know I’ll at least have flying/airport/hotel time, so it will be a good distraction.    And I did finish one old project this week, so I think it’s ok to start a new.

I’m not looking forward to this week – in addition to traveling, I need to get a million things done because I’ll be off work the following week.  I love taking vacations but sometimes it’s hard because of all the work before – and the stuff that I know I’ll be coming back to.  But I am looking forward to being off for a bit – and getting away from everything.  We have scheduled most of our time in Williamsburg (I’m most  happy when I have a schedule) and I’m looking forward to everything we are going to do.  Just have to get through this week!  I think I will have a post later this week to show you the project I finished – it took so long that I’m embarrassed to list the stats.

OK, I’m going to go –  a little knitting time, and maybe looking through the roving stash for the next project.  Have a great week!


Spinning again

July 27, 2010

OK, this is a little rough, but it has been a long time since I’ve made yarn

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but I like it!  It felt so good to get this off the bobbins  – I had started this over a year ago – and bought the roving two years ago!

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The roving is 100% superwash merino from The Dyeing Arts and the colorway is Goth Chick Duo.  The roving was  2 oz’s of two different colorways – one with black tones, and one red/pink.   I spun the red/pink first, and the black was a bit of a chore – sort of boring which is why I think I stopped spinning it.  But once I started spinning again a couple of weeks ago, I was so happy to get back to it that it just flew, and I was so excited to get to plying that I finished it in one sitting.  Not the most even yarn – definitely thick and thin but it’s about 250 yards of sport weight, so I think I have enough to do something – maybe a cowl for the winter.  The colors are pretty, and its very soft and I’m looking forward to using it (there is something so satisfying about knitting with  handspun!)

Once I finished this yarn, I went back to another project that has been on the bobbins for a long long time.  This is a merino/tencel blend and I finally finished the single last week.

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I haven’t plied this yet because I want to Navajo ply it to maintain the color stripes – and I have only done Navajo plying once and I think I need to gear up for it (for those of you that don’t spin, Navajo plying is when you take a single yarn and ply it to get a three ply/cable ply).   Kim sent me a great video so I think I’m going to sit down this weekend and give it a try.  I love the colors in this yarn and the sheen is amazing so I think it’s going to be a beautiful yarn when it’s done.

Since I’ve been back to spinning, I had to also get back to buying a little stash enhancement!

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Pretty, eh? The one on the left is from Gale’s Art – it’s a combo of dyed light and dark BFL (blue faced leicester) and it’s just really amazing.  I’m spinning it now, and I’m really enjoying the colors  –  the dark BFL really adds a good depth and mix to it.     The roving on the right is Perchance to Knit and its 100% Polworth – I’ve never spun this type of sheep fiber, and it’s so soft and I’ve read good things about it –  I  think the colors are beautiful and I’m definitely looking forward to it.  It is so much fun to get new things to spin up – and so hard to resist starting it.

So there you go – now you know what I’ve been up to fiber-wise!  I haven’t knit in days – wow!  I just realized its been almost a week  – I can’t believe how long its been!  It has been very very busy at work, and I haven’t had a lot of downtime.  I’m really missing it though – I have so many things I want to get to!  I just found out today that a co-worker is having twins – it’s a high risk pregnancy so I’ve been hesitant to knit for her, but she had some tests recently and it looks like things are going better so I think I’ll start knitting her up some presents.  Definitely booties – maybe some blankets.  I was thinking about trying some of the new Loopy Ewe yarn because of the pretty colors.  Any other thoughts on nice baby yarn?

OK I think I’m going to go read some blogs and sneak some knitting in – just a couple of rows would make me so happy!  Have a great week!


A Chair

April 13, 2009

I haven’t been spinning lately – in fact its been months – because I just couldn’t.  I was using a little chair from a small desk set that my sister loaned Cieara.  My sister had the desk since I was a little girl, and it was so nice of her to give it to Cieara.  I borrowed the chair a while ago to use for spinning, and it was just the perfect size.  But in the last redecoration of her room, Cieara decided that the desk didn’t fit, so we gave it and the little chair back to my sister.  And that was months ago – and I haven’t been able to spin because none of our chairs were right – and I just couldn’t find the right chair when I looked at stores.   Everything was too big, too tall, or had wheels.  And I just didn’t like how they looked. 

There is an antiques store across from the gym, and I look at it all the time while I’m working out and wonder if they have something that would work.  So this weekend, Larry and I stopped in on the way to the chocolate store for chocolate bunnies, and they had the perfect chair.

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I don’t know what the bottom is made of – it almost seems like paper.  And the finish is sort of blistered.  And I really love it.  It is the perfect size for spinning, and I love how it looks.

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Nipper apparently agrees that it is a perfect chair…

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I really am glad that I found it…and I did a little spinning this weekend…

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It really felt so good to spin again – I have to admit though – it did take a few minutes to get back into it.   But I finally got it going, and it was so nice to be back at the wheel.  I really need to get through some of my roving stash.  Maryland Sheep and Wool is coming up, and although I’m not 100% I’m going, I didn’t go last year, and I don’t know if I want to miss it two years in a row.  And if I go to Maryland, I know I’ll be buying more roving  – so I really need to get going!

This weekend wasn’t all about spinning – I also started the Aeolian shawl yesterday – and I’m loving it.

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It took me a couple of rows to figure out how to do the beads (and I probably lost at least 25 somewhere in my chair/family room on those two rows), but I finally got it and I’m clipping along.  I’m making the shoulderette, not the shawl, and I’ve finished the second chart.  I was a little worried about gauge – I am using a US 4 for this, and wondered if a US 3 might be better -but I don’t have a Knit Picks Harmony in that size, and I don’t think I could do lace, beads and metal needles.  But the more I do of it, the more I think the 4 will be fine.  I really do like the pattern so far, and I love working on it.  I feel like I finally found my knitting exitement again – its been a while since I’ve been this happy with a project. 

I had a really nice long weekend, and tomorrow I’m back to work.  But the weekend was so nice, and I’m all relaxed   – we had such a good time this weekend with the kids, and had lots of good food, a little golf, and a nap or two. 

OK, off to spin (if Nipper will let me have the chair back!).  Have a great week!


Happy 2009!

January 3, 2009

I can’t believe that 2008 is over, and that its 2009 – last year went so fast!  We celebrated the new year quietly, and on New Year’s my sister came over and we had an amazing meal (if I do say so myself) – pulled pork, black eyed peas, grits, cornbread, salad.  I think its become our New Year’s tradition to have Southern food, and this year was quite good.  I had off yesterday, so its been a very relaxing start to the new year. 

So 2009 – I always make resolutions – knitting and other.  Our best resolution was two years ago when we quit smoking (yea!), and even last year’s we followed through by eating much healthier and eating in more often.   I like to have goals each year – I  like the feeling that I’ve thought about my life, and that I have something I want to work on.  I can’t say that I’ve always hit all of mine – but I usually accomplish most of them in some way.  My resolutions this year are (well, some of them – I have a couple of private ones!):

1.  Exercise more!  I don’t want to “diet” – I’m tired of constantly focusing on food, being hungry, counting points, being deprived.  So I’m going to continue to eat healthy, and just add some exercise.  Shooting for three days a week minimum , so this should be do-able!  I am also trying to really cut down the amount of sugar I have every day (I suppose it would have been better had I not had creme brulee for dessert last night!).

2.  Work hard to take better care of my relationships – spouse, kids, family, friends, pets, you name it!  I think its easy to get into ruts and become complacent about things, so this is the year that I’m going to try and be a better wife, mother, sister, friend, pet owner, etc.

3.  Volunteer.  I have wanted to volunteer for a couple of years now, but haven’t done it.  So I need to just do it – I think I’d like to do something with the elderly, and there are plenty of opportunities around here. 

Knitting wise – I just have a couple – I really want to do a fair isle sweater this year (carry over from last year), and learn to do toe up socks.  Other than that, I just want to enjoy the craft, and not stress about it too much.  I’d like to keep my current WIP’s at a manageable number (which I’ve been doing pretty well on) so that I finish projects in a reasonable time.  Oh, and I’d like to use up some of my stash – and I have a great plan for that, but more on that next time.

So enough about me – what about you?  Do you have any resolutions? 

OK, enough about that – as I mentioned, I’ve recently started spinning again – so I have something done that I started a while ago…

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This was from 4.2 oz of 100% Merino Roving from Three By Hand  – the colorway is Dandelion.  This was gorgeous roving to work with, and I really liked the colors.  I started this in the summer sometime – and had a bobbin full of singles.  I could really see the difference in my spinning when I restarted this a week ago – I was really inconsistent and needed some time to relearn the motions. 

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I don’t think this is the best I’ve spun, but I was really happy with it – and happy to clear the bobbins.  This is a DK-Sport weight, and about 280 yards.  I’m thinking another cowl – the perfect solution for a small amount of handspun!

Once I finished the merino, I spun up a very small braid of roving I bought at the fiber festival in PA this year. 

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This was 2 oz of 100% superwash Merino – the colorway is Cappuccino.  When I bought this, I got comments from friends from knitting group that it was a terrible colorway, but I knew that it would be beautiful once it was spun…I don’t know about cappuccino though – it really reminds me of hot cocoa with marshmallows. 

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I spun and plied this up in a day – only 2 oz, and I ended up with a fingering weight and 120 yards.  Not sure what I’ll do with it – but I’m sure I’ll find something.  Its so soft, and I think the colors are pretty.

Once we put the Christmas stuff away, we’ll be rearranging the family room, and moving my wheel into it.  I hope that gives me more of an opportunity to spin – I had forgotten how much I enjoy it, and how relaxing it is.

OK, well, I should get going.  I’m going to the gym this morning (see #1 above).  Have a wonderful weekend!  And if you have resolutions, good luck!


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