Sunday, March 18, 2018

So Close I Can Taste It*

As of this afternoon, I have one bobbin of HipStrings Buoy singles in Sky done and two left to spin. That means just two more bobbins (plus, of course, plying) before my last sweater skein is done. If I'm being honest, this is my favorite colorway of the whole project.

I will definitely be putting in more hours on this spin this week in an effort to finish it up.

As if finishing getting the final skein done wasn't enough motivation, I got some additional this week in the form of the first HipStrings Synergy fiber club shipment. This fiber club was a bit more expensive than other clubs I've been in, but knowing the thought and energy that Jill puts into her fiber blends, I knew it would be worth it -- and this shipment didn't disappoint.

The first shipment focuses on how fiber prep can affect the blending of different fibers and the finished yarn. The fiber blend in the box is presented three ways: as combed top, carded batts, and component parts.

The colorway is called Pebbles, and it's a blend of 50% Merino wool, 25% Zwartbles wool, 12.5% Tussah silk, and 12.5% Sari silk. You can see the top on the left, the batts on the upper right, and the components on the bottom right. The gizmo at the top is a handy tool to secure your ends when you step away from spinning.

As with all of Jill's blends, the fiber reads as one color (a sort of greenish gray) from far away, but when you look at it up close, you can see all the different colors and shades. I'm really excited to spin this up -- just as soon as the sweater spin is done -- and I think I'll likely spin each prep on its own so I can compare how the prep affects the finished yarn. I might take the components baggie and throw the content on my drum carder to make another batt, too.

*Just for the record, while I will happily smell wool, I do not endorse tasting it unless you want a fuzzy tongue.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Briefly Monogamous

Unbelievably, I still have only one project on the needles. That's not for lack of wanting to cast something new on, mind you, it's just how things are at the moment. I'm working on a pair of socks for me using the most recent sock yarn to come into my stash, and for the past few days, this one WIP has satisfied me. I'm now into the heel, so nearly halfway done with the first sock.

I will likely be casting on a second project soon, perhaps as early as this evening. This will be another design sample, a hat that goes with the last two pairs of socks I finished. I did some swatching the other evening and finally remembered that I could use my spiffy Akerworks swatch gauge to measure my swatch.

I bought this tool at SSK last summer and promptly forgot I had it until now, which is a shame, because it's a really handy tool. Unlike a measuring tape, it stays put when you put it down, and it's much easier to count stitches and rows when you're not wrangling a slippery tape at the same time. From now on, I'm going to make sure I keep this in a convenient location so I don't forget about it the next time I need to measure a swatch!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Two FOs, One WIP, and a Rerelease

It may just be me, but this past weekend seemed to fly by, even though it was longer than normal. We were pretty busy, so I'm sure that played a part. The good news is that I got a fair amount done, even if it wasn't as much as I was hoping. You will have seen the spinning progress if you read my last post. But new for today is the two projects I finished.

First up, my Wonder Woman Wrap, which I finally "wrapped" up (hehe) Sunday evening. I'd hoped to have finished it on Friday, but it turned out that I was more interested in napping than knitting when I finally sat down to do it.

Pattern: Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Browning
Yarn: Twist Fiber Studio Fairview Fingering (75% merino/25% nylon) in Bollywood and Gale's Art Wonder Sock (75% BFL, 25% nylon) in XXXX, one skein each
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) 40 in. ChiaoGoo Red Lace circulars
Started/Completed: August 26, 2017/March 11, 2018

Of course, this wrap isn't finished finished finished, because I still have to block it and deal with some ends, but the knitting portion is done. Overall, I enjoyed knitting it, though I'll admit that there are an awful lot of ends to deal with due to the way it's knit. The construction is rather ingenious, though, and I really appreciated the pattern because of that. Rainbow has already asked if I'll make her one in the traditional Wonder Woman colors, so I guess I'll have another one on the needles at some point (though I've already told her that I would make her the smaller size).

The other FO is another pair of socks for Rainbow. The colorwork motif is part of a new pattern that's with my tech editor at the moment, but I used the heel from my Non-Euclidian socks to see how she likes it. I used the same Marianated Yarns Practicality sock yarn that I used for the original design sample but with the colors reversed. The yardage is so good on this yarn that I still have a decent amount leftover of the two original skeins!

For a very brief period of time after finishing up these two projects, I had no projects on the needles -- that's right, zero. Unheard of! I couldn't allow that to be the case for two long, so yesterday morning I cast on a new pair of socks for me. This is the first shipment of the Fibernymph Dye Works Happy Hour Yarn Club, a colorway called Down at the Pub that's inspired by the different colors of beer. I'm knitting myself a pair of Non-Euclidians that I can actually wear (the original pair is now living in my sample bag). The best part about these socks just might be the progress keeper that came with the yarn:

Now, on to the rerelease. You may remember that I posted about my Intrecciate Socks last fall when they were published in Knit Now, and you may also remember that I knit up a new sample when I was on my winter vacation because I wasn't super in love with the yarn I was given for the first sample. In any case, I'm happy to tell you that you can now get the pattern through my Ravelry store.

These socks are knit cuff down, with a heel flap and gusset and a wide toe. They're graded to three sizes (to fit a foot circumference of 7/8/9 inches or 18/20.5/23 cm) and both charted and written directions for the stitch pattern. As fun as the colors were in the original yarn, I think the stitch pattern really shines so much more in a solid color -- and you can see that these socks are truly unisex. In addition to knitting up the new sample, I've also run the pattern by my tech editor, so you can be sure it's up to snuff.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


The extra time I've been spending at my wheel lately has paid off -- the fourth skein (of five total skeins) for my handspun Boxy is done! I finished plying just a little while ago, in fact, and the skein is now getting its spa treatment. Before it went into its bath, though, I snapped a few pictures. Just be aware that it looks a little twisty because these were taken fresh off the wheel.

This was another 8 oz. skein, using one braid each of Buoy in Bay and Sky. As with the previous 8 oz. skein, I faded from one color to the other. I think this might be my favorite. I obviously won't know final yardage until it's fully dry from setting the twist, but I think it might be in the neighborhood of 600 yards or so, giving me somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800 yards total thus far. That's already more than I likely need for the pattern, but having extra yardage will allow me to have some leeway in making the body and sleeves longer than specified should I decide I want to.

Here's a nice portrait of the four skeins together:

The fiber for the final skein -- 6 oz. of Sky, the lightest color -- is ready to go and will likely go on the wheel starting tomorrow. I am really getting excited to get this whole batch of yarn finished so I can cast on!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Still Knitting

No real progress to report here; it's been a busy week, so I am inching along on my projects and looking ahead to a long weekend (Rainbow and I are both off tomorrow). I've got about 15 more rows to knit on the top of my Wonder Woman Shawl, so it only looks a tiny bit different from the last time you saw it.

Duni left an interesting comment on my last post, noting that I'd called my Breezy Cardigan my "one notable exception" to my habit of not letting projects linger on the needles for long periods of time and yet, in the post about the sweater, I pointed out one other "notable exception" to this practice, a Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole that I started a little more than a month before Rainbow was born. I'd say that project was a special exception considering the timing; I didn't knit much at all right after Rainbow was born, and I ended up ripping out the project altogether a while ago because I just wasn't feeling it anymore.

Rainbow's socks are approximately 75% complete at this point; I'm on the heel of the second sock. She's getting antsy for them to be done, so I expect they'll get some extra attention this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, it looks like it might be another busy one. Although we're off tomorrow, we're pretty scheduled up, with two dentist appointments (one for me, one for her), a parent-teacher conference at her school, and a plumber coming to repair something. Saturday I have to go get some bloodwork done and then we're going to do a little car shopping. Sunday we turn the clocks ahead (yay for more light but boo for an hour less of sleep) and have to do the usual errands and chores. On top of all this, tomorrow is actually my birthday, and we're having the entire family over for dinner to celebrate on Saturday evening. I'm hoping I can use the event as an excuse to grab some more quiet crafting time amid all this activity!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A Resurrection of Sorts

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I'm the type of knitter who usually has several projects going at once and rotates through them fairly likely. You'll also know it's unlike me to let a project languish for a long period of time (one notable exception notwithstanding). So I'm sure that like me you're completely puzzled by the fact that this WIP has been sitting in a bag, ignored, for so long.

I'm sure you'll have no problem identifying the pattern -- the Wonder Woman Wrap that was such a hit last summer following the release of the movie. I specifically bought the yarn for this project last year at SSK and was very excited to start it. I couldn't remember exactly when I cast on, so I had to check my Ravelry project page: August 26. That's quite a long time ago, and I really have no reasonable explanation for why it's remained unfinished this long. There is nothing wrong with the pattern, and I've enjoyed knitting it. The only possible thing I can say is that more pressing things have come up and I've just forgotten it was still on the needles because it was buried at the bottom of a bag of projects.

When I picked up this WIP again in the past week, I found there really wasn't much knitting left to do on it. I had about four garter ridges left on the upper W, the upper triangle, and the final stripe along the top. As of this writing, only that stripe is left (along with weaving in a heck of a lot of ends). I'm fairly confident that I can finish this long-languishing WIP by the end of the week.

The only other thing on the needles at the moment is Rainbow's socks, which are now past the 50 percent mark. I got some good knitting time in on these while we were getting our taxes done over the weekend. These are a new design with the heel from Non-Euclidian.

When these WIPs are finished up, I'll be starting some new designs and possibly a new pair of socks for the Mister, who hasn't gotten any new socks in a while. I ordered some self-striping yarn from Fibernymph Dye Works for him last month that's a little wild for him but in "his" colors, so I think he'll like them. At least it's not all black!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Just Like Old Times

After more than two weeks of not spinning, I was very much missing my wheel and made up for all that time away during the Olympics. In the past week, I've finished two bobbins of singles toward the next skein of my sweater spin:

and I'm nearly halfway through the third:

I imagine that I'll be done with the singles and perhaps even have gotten them plied by this time next week, leaving me just one more skein left to spin for the project. As lovely as this fiber is to spin, I'm going to be very happy to be done with it if only so I can spin something a little different for a change! There has been plenty of new fiber coming in to the stash while this project has been under way, including the January shipment of the Southern Cross Fibre club, which showed up later than expected due to some shipping snafus (all on the part of the USPS, not David).

This is a colorway called Fragonard on South African Superfine, and it is as soft as you would think. I'm pondering how to spin this in a way that won't muddy up the delicate colors. Suggestions welcome!