Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

Boo and Pookie wish everyone a spooky holiday. They're both black cats so they know something about that. LOL!

Ravelry is a time sinkhole. I have been slowly working on putting up my finished projects. I was surprised to find so many of them. I'm having to track down the details such as pictures, what yarn I used, etc. for the project. In doing this I've stumbled across more knitting patterns I've written. I'm keeping a list and will be posting them along on my blog.

The library feature is great. I've been posting books from my personal library. Right now it's limited to the books already in their database. I still have a ton more to add. Their counter does not match the number of books I have posted. One book is in their database but won't show up in my library. Hey, they're still trying to work the bugs out this.

I've joined a lot of groups/forums on Ravelry. I'm still trying to figure out how it all works. I'm used to Yahoo groups sending out digests with all the new messages. Ravelry groups are little summaries showing which messages have unread replies. I stumbled across some kind of RSS feeds for each group today. I'm not sure how that works or what benefit it would have if I signed up for it for all the groups I'm subscribed to.

My list of things to knit grows longer as I browse the patterns already in Ravelry. They gave us an icon to add to our browser toolbar. When you find an online pattern you like, you click "add it to ravelry queue" and it will be added to a list of things you want to knit. Cool!

I finished spinning the last bit of the rust/green Rambouillet. The skein weighs 1 ounce and has 174 yards in it. Adding that to the big skein of 902 yards, I have a total of 1,076 yards of this to use for some project. I'm a little tired of green at the moment so it will go into my stash box to wait for the right pattern to come along.

The other night I finished the triangle shawl in the hemp/wool yarn. Bound it off and held it up to admire my work. Oh, sh_t! About halfway up the shawl, I missed half a row of k2tog, yarnovers! Yipes! How did I miss that? I usually look at my knitting as I go to catch those kind of mistakes. Guess I thought this pattern was so simple I couldn't screw up. Well I did. Hubby didn't think it was worth fixing. I can't live with that kind of mistake so I ripped it back to the mistake and put it back on the needles. I'm not in any hurry to finish it now.

I thought I had my next lace project picked out. Not so. I saw some pics of the ends of the stole I was considering and I don't like it. So I will pass on that project and look for something else to work on. My design folder is calling me to come back and work on something in it. Maybe...

Friday, October 26

Turning leaves handspun

Haven't gotten a lot done this week. I had the crud for a couple of days and didn't feel like doing much. My cats have all been acting up too. It must be the season.

I plyed the rust/green Rambouillet a few days ago. I skeined and washed it yesterday. Look at this beautiful 4.3 oz skein of 902 yards! See how fine it spun up? I thought I had spun up all of this fiber until I found another length of roving last night. I should have over 1,200 yards once I spin up this last bit. The colors in this yarn mirror the colors of the turning leaves on the trees. Usually our trees are naked by now. This year, it's been so warm that while some trees have shed their leaves others are still green. In the past few days some of them have begun to turn red and bright orange. I'm happy and surprised to see all the color. We didn't think we'd get this much fall color this year.

I cast on for another Butterfly Shawl (aka Lion Brand Easy Shawl) recently with some hemp yarn. I bought it from the Dzined booth at Stitches Midwest two years ago. The yarn band is lost though I think there is enough yardage for a decent sized shawl. The yarn is a little rough at the moment but should soften when it's washed. Something to go into the gift basket.

I retrieved my handspun yarn and shawl patterns from a local yarn shop yesterday. No, I won't be teaching a shawl class. I couldn't work out an agreement with the shop owner on prices that was favorable to both of us. I'm disappointed it turned out this way. The owner is a savvy businesswoman. Still, I do need to sell my handspun for more than the fiber cost me. :-) No hard feelings. I will still visit the shop to see what she gets in. I try to support my LYS.

I mailed another package with 5 scarves to Scarves From the Heart this week. I have some more scarf design ideas. I think I've knit enough of them for the moment. I've made some design notes that I'll return to at a later date.

I'm itching to get a new lace project on the needles. The one I'm looking at is a lace stole pattern with beads. I stopped by Hobby Lobby today for beads and a tiny crochet hook. I hope that one of the colors I got will work for this stole. The yarn I want to use is a lace weight from Jojoland I picked up at the Midwest Folk and Fiber Art Festival this summer. This is the finest weight yarn I've ever attempted to knit with. Cross your finger it works out.

Sunday, October 21

Scarf along

I still have scarves on the brain. I finished 3 more in the last week and have ideas for more, especially patterns for guys. I've found lots of good patterns online for scarves for women but not much for guys.

1) Simple garter stitch scarf from a chenille yarn with a silver metallic strand running through it (Caron Glimmer). I tapered the ends for a different look. One 49 yard skein made this simple scarf. Dimensions: 43" x 4.5"

2) Crocheted triangle scarf from Sandnes Soft Mohair. I used one 120 yard skein and a little from a second skein. The colorway has several shades of violet/purple and some lime green. It's really much prettier than the picture shows. Dimensions: 44" wide x 19" long at tip. I did this as a top down decreasing triangle. Chained about 88 stitches with a size K hook and decreased down one stitch at the start of each row. Dc, chain 1 across each row. The scarf was a little small so I added a treble crochet border and a chain 6 every other stitch edge on top of that. There is still one full skein and a partial to use up or trade for something else.

3) SW Textured Scarf - this is a new pattern I came up with that's good for either guys or gals. It looks like the "eye" design seen in lots of southwestern designs. Red Heart Supersaver Flecks acrylic worsted weight yarn.
Dimensions: 43" x 6"

Worsted weight yarn
2.3 ounces/about 150 yards
US 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles

Pattern #3 is available for free through my Ravelry pattern store.

Saturday, October 13

Fiber mill visit

Yesterday, I took a roadtrip to Pufpaff's Fiber Mill in Michigan with three of my knitting friends. It was a chilly but nice day for a drive. The change of scene was good even if the fall colors weren't as bright as usual.

We took a break in Kalamazoo for lunch at Erbelli's Pizza & Italian Kitchen. This local restaurant gets good reviews online. They deserve it, their buffet lunch was sensational! The sauce they use is the best I've ever eaten. I'll definitely go back there sometime. The dining room is small so get there early if you want a seat.

The purpose of our trip was to pick up some fiber that had been processed at the mill. We also got to visit the sheep, llamas, and alpacas that Suzanne raises. She threw out some food and they all came running. One of the Shetland sheep had the crimpiest fleece I've ever seen. Here's a picture of some of the huge pumpkins in her garden.

We took a tour of this small mill and got a lesson in making felt by hand. This picture shows some how you layer the design on the base batt before felting it. Each of us went home with a finished felted piece. Part way through the lesson, someone came in to tell us that the sheep and alpacas had gotten out. All of us went outside to herd them back down the road to their pen. Then we walked back to the mill to finish our projects and shop for fiber and patterns.

Here are a few pictures of the carding machine. There is less than one pound of merino on the belt going in the back of the machine. This shows it is coming out the front carded into a cloud. I wanted to get a close up to show it's gathered together under the wheel and then twisted into roving. I didn't take a picture of where it falls into a waiting plastic bag. I was lucky enough to bring 8 ounces of this beautiful, fresh roving home with me. :-)

Suzanne showed us her home that has felted wool curtains and crocheted wool rugs on the floor. The curtains are wool felted to a fabric base. She shared with us how to crochet the rugs using roving instead of yarn and a large crochet hook.

We stayed a lot longer than we expected. It was getting dark by the time I got home in the evening.

Tuesday, October 9

Textured Scarf & Nubbly Triangle Scarf patterns

My husband went back to work today after being on vacation for a week and a half. I was hoping we'd get out of town for a few days but it didn't happen. I'm glad he's back to work. Now I can try to get caught up on things.

I did manage to finish one small spinning project. It was less than an ounce of Rambouillet dyed in greens and purples. Here's the 141 yard skein I got from the wool. Too little yardage to do much with. I'm considering combining some of my orphan skeins into one project to use them up.

I've been on a scarf kick. Two more scarves are finished. I've been going through my scrap box for inspiration.

I found a partial skein of Bernat Aspen (wool/acrylic blend). Cast on and knitted it up into a textured diagonal pattern that I made up as I went. It turned out quite nice.

Textured Turquoise Scarf
Size: 42" x 5.5"
2.2 oz worsted weight yarn (probably about 150 yards)
U.S. 10.5 needles (mine are old Bernat 7 mm size and not the usual 6.5 mm)

Pattern is now available as a free download through my Ravelry pattern store.

The second scarf came about from a partial skein of baby blue nubbly novelty yarn I picked up at the October Fiber Frolic on Saturday. I paired it with some blue baby yarn scraps. I cast on for a top down triangle scarf starting with the baby yarn and alternating with the nubbly yarn. The bumps gave a nice texture to the scarf. When the blue baby yarn ran out, I grabbed some white baby yarn. I liked the serendipitous way this scarf was developing. Of course, the white yarn ran out before I was done. I grabbed some white baby yarn with a shiny nylon ply, knit a garter stitch border and bound off. I thought I was done until I laid the scarf out flat. The edge curled up which it shouldn't have in garter stitch. What now? All the yarns I had used were synthetic and unblockable. (I didn't want to try to kill it with heat and melt the yarn.) So back to the leftover box I went. I found a small ball of another blue and worked a crocheted border to stabilize the edge. That took care of it!

Nubbly Triangle Scarf
Size: 38" x 20"
I used a total of 3 ounces of synthetic yarn--some baby (fingering weight) yarn and the other a nubbly novelty yarn.
U.S. 8 needles (5 mm)

Pattern is now available as a free download through my Ravelry pattern store.

Tuesday, October 2

Red Purl opens

Yippee! We have another new LYS! I went to check it out yesterday with my friend, Elizabeth. It's always more fun to do this with someone who understands your yarn addiction. LOL!

Red Purl is located in Niles, Michigan. Amy, the owner, is carrying higher end brands of yarn that other shops in our area don't have. Smart woman! You'll find Fleece Artist, Claudia Handpaints, Lobster Pot, a type of yarn from Estonia, handspun, etc.

I brought home a skein of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in a luscious combination of greens, blues, and purples. I ask, how could I leave the store without this? It contains some of my favorite colors. My second purchase was a set of bamboo gull wing cable needles. I really needed these. I've been struggling with an old metal hook-style cable needle which I do not like. These are so much nicer.

Having heard Amy was looking for handspun yarn to sell, I took along some of my handspun to show her. She kept it all to sell! I was so pleased. :-) She asked for a few copies of my Cascading Leaves shawl pattern and if I would be interested in teaching a class on the shawl at her shop. What, me teach a class? Well...with both Elizabeth and Amy encouraging me, I might have to do it! :-) Now to figure out how to break it down into a class.

I've been working on charity projects lately. I finished 2 scarves for Scarves for the Heart last week. They've been mailed and received before the deadline. (Thanks, Shelly, for letting me know.) I sewed up another batch of kitty toys this morning and delivered them. I've finally found a volunteer to help me make toys for Pet Refuge, my local no-kill animal shelter.

Now, maybe I'll have some time to work on my own projects. My newest lace project is all charted out and ready to hit the needles to see how it works. It's a design I played around with several months ago but never pursued. I'm thinking about knitting the first one as a scarf and then upsizing it to a stole complete with a lace edging. I haven't found the right lace edging yet.