Monday, August 28, 2006


Hand Spun One Skein Wonder - oh and some socks

Check another one off the list! I finished the BF's Sister's One Skein Wonder over the weekend. It's the first project with my hand spun that wasn't a scarf. I'm glad that I decided to ply the yarn. Originally I wanted a very rustic look (ala Manos / Malabrigo) but I thought that if I spun a single I would be more likely to get a bias in the finished product. The merino is very very soft and I'm kinda jealous that I'm giving this one away (she's much smaller than me so it won't even fit if I decided to steal it!). For all that I tried to spin the yarn a little uneven - the knitting seems to balance it all out, you can see a couple of very small thinish patches in the upper right and bottom left of the close up shot but other than that I am very very happy with it! Xmas knitting almost completed.

Also finished is a second pair of the BF's "must you wear socks all summer" socks. These, like the last pair were done in a Lana Grossa cotton/wool blend. This yarn is a pleasure to work with and his handknit socks got me all kinds of compliments from his extended family at the reunion a couple of weeks ago.

Glee is slowly driving me insane. Because I'm such a big beautiful busty girl I'm making the biggest size and that means that I have to do 103 rows of increases! I'm at 84 increase rows finished. I'll be so glad when I can take the sleeve stitches off the circular.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Now that is some Pharty Yarn

So I spun up the homemade hankies last night and I've decided that if I ever do this again I need to invest in the proper equipment or it's just not worth it. Here are all the gory details (with pictures of course because that's just how we do things around here).

Here we have the dried hankies - they felt a little brittle - probably because I only had commercial fabric softener rather than the specific silk softener that suggested. I do have to admit that they look really pretty in a porny shot kinda way.

They came apart from each other just fine but it became clear as I was spinning them up that I hadn't soaked the cocoons long enough because there were still spots where the silk had not separated - they were unspinnable and became slubs.

There was nothing for it but to spin it anyways. I was dead on about the colour too. The colour was absolutely no where near as saturated as it had been on the cocoons.

Once I had spun them up and plied them back I maybe had 25yrds of yarn and I doubt that it's very usable. I just have to keep reminding myself that this was an experiment and that I had no intention of going into the silk business. The colours were actually nice and the shine was amazing but the in the end I think I'll go back to trying to find a cheap soruce of hankies so I don't have to pull out my hair. I'll leave you with two porny shots - one of the hankies before separating and spinning and one of the finished yarn.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Wow - that was ALOT of work

I picked up some cocoons a month or so ago at Knit Knackers as something fun to try. I finally got to it tonight and man, it was so much work.

I should preface this entry by saying I finished about 60min ago and have since rewarded my self with these. I guess you may say I'm a little tipsy while typing but hopefully this won't turn out too bad.

I made this frame out of a 6" square canvas frame that cost me all of a couple of bucks. I removed the staples that were holding on the canvas and put four nails through the corners.

Following the instructions (as best I could with my equipment) from I soaked the cocoons in hot water with washing soda for 45 min to 1 hour (replacing the hot water every 15 min or so) and it was still a struggle to open them up. I think if I were to do this again (not looking good right now) I would pick up a cheap crock pot or hot plate to keep things a little warmer.

I eventually was able to wiggle open one end of each of the cocoons and take out the little guys (linked picture - do not click if you do not want to see dead pupa). It wasn't too bad. I kinda like knowing where my product comes from and acknowledging exactly what I am doing when I work with silk. I'm wierd that way - I also find some satisfaction in making a thanksgiving turkey and really dealing with a carcas and knowing that I'm taking life to support my own. I should explain that better - I don't necessarily like taking life for my own benefit but if I choose to do so I don't want to hide from what I am doing.

I found that with the majority of the cocoons I had to remove the cradle (more solid part of the cocoon that the worm spins to protect itself. From my understanding most hankies include this part but I just couldn't get it to spread out you can see a couple in the linked pic). Once the cradle was removed it wasn't too too hard to spread them out on my homemade frame. I did have to work the silk alot to get it to spread out - I was teasing out the solid bits so that they would be as evenly spread as possible.

Here are the final hankies that have been rinsed in lemon juice (no vinegar in the house) and then in a very light soloution of fabric softener to give them a better handle once they are dry.

I bought these pre-dyed but if I repeated this exorcise I would just get natural ones. The dye really only stuck to the outter layer of the cocoon and I think I'm going to see alot of white when I get around to spinning these.

I'm glad that I did it but until and unless I get some better equipment I don't think I will try this again. It was very difficult. I think I will have rough spots on my fingers from working against the silk to spread it out. I couldn't knit tonight after working with the silk.

Hopefully this isn't full of typos - please forgive. I rarely drink unless I think I deserve a reward for a job well done.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


This makes me feel all kinds of better

After the silk debacle this is making me feel much much better. This is a very boring looking black merino for another Xmas present. My BF's sister saw my One Skein Wonder last weekend at the family reunion and was completely enamoured. Her only request was that it be black which is easy enough but I wanted it to be a little special. She's kinda a rustic type of girl so I was thinking something like a Manos or a Malabrigo but the only in town source is at the far away yarn store and I thought I'd make it super special by spinning the yarn myself. She's a wee slip of a thing so it's only costing me about $10 for all the fibre (did I mention it's Merino). I spun it a little thick and thin to keep it rustic and started knitting this weekend.

This is the first weekend in a while that the BF and I haven't had to run to some other city for some event or another so I had the whole weekend to do house work and knit (which I'm surprisingly happy about - we were both letting the place get a little run down). Here's the progress shot but in actuality when I put it down tonight I'd finished one sleeve and only have a little more to do before I can check another one off the list for December.

I also made progress on my Glee but it is very boring to look at so I'll spare you. The final set of projects for the weekend was to work on two pairs of socks I have on the go (I'm trying to free all my sock needles for Sock Wars). I've finished one of each pair. This photo makes me giggle because I don't have small feet (size 10 womens) and my BF's socks dwarf mine but a large amount. I'm completely in love with the colour of my socks from Spunky Ecletic in the "confused" colourway. There was some pooling around the gusset but I actually really like it (being the random type that I am). BF's are in a Lana Grossa cotton blend. With any luck I'll have at least one pair done by next weekend with all the bus knitting on the way to work this week.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


It broke my heart I tell you

This is the silk that broke my heart. I was going to ply this with some Fleece Artist roving I started on a while ago and I finished spinning the 50g that I had purchased. I was winding into a centre pull ball for later plying when this happened. It is an ungodly tangle that just drifts apart when you try to figure it out. I think the only answer is going to be to get a stack of hankies to spin once I finish the Wensleydale Teeswater.

The other "dissappointment" (in quotes because in reality it wasn't that bad) were the hand cards mom had for me. They are very antique and were obviously well loved in their time but I think they are going to prove unusable . The picks on the cloth are bent down in a lot of places and the leather that holds the picks is comming away from the wood. The second small let down was that the "wool-winder" that mom spotted at the Salvation Army was actually a reeler that someone had built themselves. The arms weren't at all adjustable and I think I can actually build something better. I was hoping that it was a ball winder but until I can bring myself to spend the money - and until I have a swift-ish this to pair it with I will just use my Notsepinne. I still had a great time chatting with Mom so the day was far far far from a complete bust. Back to bemoaning my silk disaster.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Another one bites the dust

Another Xmas present finished (don' t hate me - xmas stress makes me crazy). I didn't finish this on the trip because I decided to cast on another pair of summer socks for the BF. I finished it up last night and it got washed and hung to dry. I was a little surprised at the amount of colour run off I got from the Euroflax. The remaining colour is still brilliant but you really don't expect to see run off in commercial dye.

It ended up being about 60" long and 5" wide. The pattern worked really well and because it was based on garter the BF's mom can wash it without having to worry about blocking it.

I picked up a new pretty today as well. I went to Knit-Knackers to pick up some black merino for another gift and I saw this . . .

It's called Rosewood Silk and it's imported from India. The mix of the solid silk and the bits of sari silk poking through caught my eye and I just couldn't look away.

The last piece of exciting news is that I'm getting my hands on a set of hand cards tomorrow. My Mom - in typical Mom fashion - mentioned last week when I was bemoaning the cost of cards that there was a set of cards somewhere in the house. I expressed my surprise because neither my mom nor her mom were really into fibre - most of the things they knit were some blend of acrylic - very durable but not requiring a set of cards. Mom's response was that they had been made of a pretty piece of oak (so typical for my folks - if it's a good piece they'll bring it home). I'm dropping in for coffee and wool cards tomorrow. Even better my Mom is the master shopper and said that she spotted a "wool winder" (her terminology - I'm not sure exactly what it is) at the local Salvation Army for $13. We're going to check it out tomorrow as well. What an exciting day!

Friday, August 11, 2006


pretty pictures

Not much to say - just wanted to get a couple of "in progress" pictures up as a backdrop to my driving this weekend. We're going to the BF's parents this weekend for a family reunion of sorts. It should be a great time - lots of Italians (who I love) - lots of great food (also love) - even more good times! It's not alot of driving (about 5 hours total) but I hope to work on these two projects:

Glee has just begun but is now stalled because I need new needles. I love my Denise needles(please don't get me wrong) but the size 5's always seem to have issues disconnecting mid knit. I think it's because the cord and the needle are so close in size. As the stitches twist around the cord they are close enough in size that they cause the needle tip to disconnect. So now I need to go to the LYS (shucks). I'm digging the colour and the rustic feel of the yarn!

The other project is a green linen scarf for my Mother "all but in-law". She hates wool (I just don't understand) so I thought this would be a good alternative because it will be so soft once it's washed. It's essentially my own design in so much as I found a lace pattern in a Walker Treasury and cast on!

We'll see how much I can get done in 5 hours!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Man, I love having a day off.

I rarely if ever take a day off but this week I made a couple of exceptions. Today was my last day off for a while and I used it to check out an LYS here in Ottawa (Wool-Tyme) that I had never been to before. It's not that it's impossible to get to but it is difficult. I went, I saw, I spent - behold!

I picked up four skeins of Briggs and Little "Sport" to make Glee and I am super excited! The colour is Mulburry and it is ever so pretty. It is a single spun format and it is a little wooly but I actually really like the wooly feel.

I also got two skeins of Misti Alpaca lace weight - probably going to be an Icarus (I know - really late to the bandwagon). It is heavenly, light and soft. The colour isn't really a WOW colour but I enjoy the subtle natural look.

The sock yarn is Regia - one of the Canadian Colours series and it's a good thing that no one ever sees my socks because no one would take me seriously - I don't care though - I can't get enough.

Add to that some split lock stitch markers and a very pretty Fiddlesticks pattern and it makes for a lovely morning. I wish I could get out there more often but I'm sure my wallet is happy that it's a little out of the way.

I wish day's off were more frequent but I guess I shouldn't complain since I have a job to go back to tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


FO's and lessons in Spindling

So I finished up a Sizzle this weekend - what's that - you didn't know I was working on a Sizzle? Well I'd started this tank with Elann Sonata Print a month or so ago and surprise (maddeningly) my Mom was right when she said I would probably go crazy with all those little squares. I ripped it all out and started on this instead. It went really quickly and the instructions were very well written! I started on Sizzle August 5 and Finished yesterday (long weekend in Canada - yay).

So the pictures - on the left we have Sizzle with a completed back and seed stitch border for the front. On the right is the finished product. I made the largest size (being the big bodacious buxtom beauty that I am ;-). and I skipped one waist decrease and one waist increase. I also made the higher neckline suggested in the patter. The Sonata Print didn't pool too badly. I wish I'd made it just a little bit longer and I will probaly throw a brown cami under it when I wear it outside the house. The Sonata isn't really meant for size 7 needles but I'm happy with the results.

This is the other FO that I'm really pleased with. Fleece Artist sent me a free skein a couple of months ago and I finally finished the sock I started. It is a slip stitch rib from Sensational Knitted Socks (an amazing resource). I think they may be gifted but I'm not sure yet. The colours are phenomenal and the slip stitch ribbing was a great way to show it off!

I have a couple of days off this week and I've been trying to finish the silk I want to ply with the purple / marron wool pictured a couple of posts back and I was using my turkish spindle. I almost went crazy and threw the whole thing out. The silk kept breaking because I couldn't get enough spin in quickly enough. Then I gave up and emptied my top whorl, set the slik up there, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and got on with my day. A good lesson for me - to consider the quality of the fibre and the spindle in relation to each other (I usually just consider the weight of the spindle). I will hopefully have it done soon so I can post some pretty pictures!

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