Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday #8

Just a quick post today, since I can't share most of my current works in progress because they're holiday gifts and test knits.  This is my current purse knitting project, a pair of toe-up socks in a 3x1 rib using David's Toe-Up Sock Cookbook.  The yarn is good old Red Heart Heart & Sole.  What can I say?  It was in my stash and it wears like iron.

What's on your needles this week?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

In honor of my birthday in two weeks I am giving away copies of my knitting patterns! Enter below for a chance to win your choice of any of my designs available at my designer page on ravelry a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 19, 2012

FO Friday

I don't have a lot of time to chatter today, but I do have pics of my latest finished socks.  I cobbled together pieces of various patterns I liked to come up with this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Big Day - Announcing a Universal Kilt Hose Calculator!

I have to admit, today I am as pleased as the cat that got the cream.  For all the years I've been making custom kilt hose for sale I have had the idea rattling around to make a universal pattern calculator for kilt hose.  I am a knitter who loves the freedom of knitting without a pattern to make something unique and well-fitted.  There is something thrilling in sitting down with paper and pencil and working it out every step of the way.  That said, I know not everyone's mind has the degree of math geekery and OCD that mine does, and I wanted to find a relatively simple way to help people who don't daydream about becoming an engineer to create something fully customized.  I've avoided this project for a long time because, well, pattern design is complicated.  It requires a lot of time and thought, even when you're not doing algebra that includes nineteen different variables (yes, really).

I would first like to say a huge thank you to the kind folks over at the Free Pattern Testers Group on Ravelry.  What a great resource for people who like to help test and edit patterns, and for people like me who are just looking for some assistance in proofreading and making sure the math is correct.

This pattern is all you need to make top-down kilt hose from any yarn for any size body.  Really.  I have used it to make hose for someone with 12 inch feet and 19 inch calves (yes, really, see the photo above) as well as my hubby's much more reasonably-sized leg.  Really, it's the pattern I've used to make every pair of kilt hose I've ever made, it just never existed outside of my head. 

The pattern includes information on how to measure and fit kilt hose, choosing yarn and needle sizes, and how to plug in any cables, color work, stitch patterns, or intarsia your heart desires.

This is an advanced beginner pattern.  Basic knowledge of top-down sock construction is important.

Click the button below to purchase a copy of the pattern for $6.50.  No Ravelry membership is required.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WiP Wednesday #7

Boy have I got a mess o' projects to share with everyone!

First is a simple scarf I'm weaving in the pinwheel houndstooth pattern, also known as the friendship star.  This is 100% Peruvian Highland wool and will be heading to a dear friend in a cold place.

Remember that SPAKAL (spin and knit-along) I'm doing?  I've spun 9 out of 24 ounces of the wool for my sweater.  It's still possible I could do this in 2012, though I'll have to work hard.

I have just a few repeats of the last section on my Color Affection shawl before starting the solid border.  I should have yarn left over for hat/mitts too.

And heavens preserve us, I've started an English paper piecing project.  I'm not sure how I'll put these together yet, right now I'm happily making hexagons, then I can lay them out and see what speaks to me.

Come check out all the great projects at Idaho Etsy Team and please make sure to say hi and check out what everyone else is up to!

Idaho Etsy Team

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WiP Wednesday #6

I have been working up a storm and haven't posted any works in progress for two weeks, so I pulled out the camera and took a mess of pictures for y'all today!

Last weekend I got out the dye pot and dyed 8 ounces of white merino spinning fiber so I can make the Nymphaea shawl by Becky Herrick (click the indie patterns link at the top of the page to purchase/download).  She was kind enough to give me a copy of this pattern, which she just published, after I told her I thought it would be lovely in handspun.  I considered the gift a challenge, and when I realized nothing in my stash would work, I got down to business.

I dyed the fiber using Wiltons' Icing Dyes.  I don't like acid dyes because they're so toxic, and you can get some amazing color variations from simple food coloring.  To me this still counts as a WIP because I still have all the spinning and knitting to do.  Yay!

I have been doing a lot of drawing and doodling lately.  There's been a lot of stress at my job lately, and working on small, soothing, abstract art is a nice way to de-stress.  I thought I'd see how they do in my shop since I usually (gasp) just draw on scrap paper and recycle it when I'm done.

Remember that post a long time ago about my goal to spin and knit a sweater in 2012?  Combing raw wool is hard work, and spinning plain white wool is BORING.  I have spun 2 of the 24 total ounces I need, and I have only combed 13 ounces so far.  I will finish this someday, but maybe not in 2012.  Meh.

My current knitting obsession is the Color Affection shawl by Veera Valimaki.  This has been a huge fad in the knitting world, and now that I've started I can see why.  Why are stripes in garter stitch so addictive?  

This shawl uses three different colors, and when I started I had planned to use this yarn:

In the skein it looked like a more bright pea green, but as I wound it up I found it to be much more brown, and I'm really not wowed.  I wanted something with more pop to go with the subdued gray and deep purple.  I have been auditioning other potential third yarns.  First up is this one, a sparkly and slightly variegated lilac purple.

I'm not sold on it, but it's definitely more lively than the green.  Here's my third option.  This one's really starting to grow on me...

Since the purple I chose is definitely a red purple I think this red would be a good candidate, and it might bring out my color a little bit more than three relatively neutral shades right around my face.  I am ready to add the third color as soon as I can decide which one to use.  What would your choice be?  

Come check out what other folks are working on at the Idaho Etsy Team page:

Idaho Etsy Team

Friday, August 24, 2012

FO Friday #3

I have been on a major finishing kick lately. I'm not sure why, but suddenly the sight of my big bin of unfinished objects (UFOs) is driving me batty.  Every time I finish something lately, I go to the UFO bin, and pull something out.  Half the projects I pull out have been frogged or even thrown away because I don't like them or the yarn any more.  Most of them wound up abandoned in the UFO bin for that reason in the first place.  The other projects, though, have been getting quickly finished up.  It is so satisfying!

One of the ones I resurrected and finished is Cookie A.'s Wedge sock pattern from her book Knit. Sock. Love.  The yarn I used isn't anything classy or pricy, it's just Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight that I bought on sale at Joann's.  The colors are pretty and it's actually very soft.  The yarn is 50% merino, 25% bamboo, and 25% nylon.  The bamboo gives it a nice shine, and I'll report back on how it wears.  The yarn is on the fine side of the spectrum, so I did the 72 stitch version of the pattern, but I probably could have gone up maybe 4 more stitches since I also knit it on size 0 needles.  I had never done a short row heel or toe before I tried this pattern, and the fact that it's in garter stitch means that it's cushy and soft, and also that you don't have to pick up your wraps when you wrap and turn.  I really like the look of the wedges of color in a self-striping yarn.  I actually started these back in January and did the first sock in a day while doing an all-day Lord of the Rings marathon with friends.  The second sock was 75% done when I pulled these out of the bin.  Heaven only knows why I decided to quit so close to being finished.

What are you finishing lately?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WiP Wednesday #5

This week I haven't had time to photograph all my works in progress.  In fact, I realized that in addition to the spinning and knitting (the loom hasn't been out of the box for a couple of months, which is a tragedy) I have a sewing WiP that I'm starting to feel ready to finish.

However, the one WiP I do have pics of is barely a WiP at all, and I could really use some help nailing it down.  I bought this beautiful yarn at Happy Knits in Portland on a recent vacation.  The yarn is Madelinetosh's Tosh Vintage in the Shoreline colorway.  It is a discontinued color so it was 20% off.  That, of course, meant I had to buy two skeins instead of one.  Look at those pretty colors.  As a blue-eyed girl I think it is going to be perfect for me!

I think this wants to be a long infinity scarf.  I wasn't sure if I liked them or not, but my sister gave me one for the holidays last winter and I wore the heck out of it.  This is a round springy yarn that is very smooth but sturdy.  The high twist will show off a textured stitch beautifully.  I want something thick and smooshy and warm, but not too stiff.  Right now I can't decide if it needs to be a Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West or a Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh.  Which one do you think this yarn wants to be?

Come see all the other lovely projects going on in the Idaho Etsy Team by clicking the banner below:

Idaho Etsy Team

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm alive, and I have a FO!

I know I've been scarce lately.  My summer's been busy and I've kind of lost my mojo for designing and taking care of my etsy shop lately.  For now, I'll just share a project I posted about back in May.  I have to admit that lace isn't really my forte.  I like it, but I find it challenging and occasionally frustrating.  It's hard to admit that, because every knitter worth her salt knits lace.  I know my tastes change, which makes it even harder when you're working on long-term projects.

This shawl was for a friend of mine.  She chose the yarn and pattern.  Since this friend isn't a knitter herself she chose a yarn and pattern that didn't really match.  Lace weight yarn on a pattern meant for something thicker and more toothsome.  This required some improvisation on my part, and the look is very different from the photos from the designer.  I still think the shawl is lovely, but it's very small despite two extra repeats of the main section and my best efforts to block the poor thing until it used a safe word.

In any case, it's done and out of my UFO pit of doom.  See?  There are pics to prove it. 

What have you finished lately?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tour de Fleece Update

Well, today is day four of the Tour de Fleece, the annual event where handspinners spin along with the cyclists in the Tour de France. My goal for this year is to spin for an hour per day for every day of the tour. I can work on whatever's at hand, I just have to get my hour. I had hoped to spin a sweater's worth of yarn, but many forces conspired to prevent that, so I'm just spinning what I've got.

 On day one I only managed half an hour of spinning. A very special young friend of mine had his Bar Mitzvah on that day, and getting to attend the service and help him celebrate took up a good portion of the day. I did sit down in the afternoon and spin, and it was marvelous, a great way to relax with a good podcast.

 On day two I got my full hour in, and probably more. I opened up my queue on hulu and turned on autoplay so it would just keep playing my favorites. I switched back and forth between knitting and spinning and polished off several weeks worth of Colbert Report shows.

On day three I worked all day, which definitely got in the way of my spinning, and I spent all of the day working on a time-sensitive project that simply had to get done. I was staring longingly at my spinning wheel the whole time I was knitting, but I didn't spin at all. I've decided that since July 10th is the first rest day of the tour I will spin instead of resting and count yesterday as rest time. Today is another work day, but I did manage to sit at the wheel for about fifteen minutes this morning while I had my cup of tea. I found it to be a really pleasant way to wake up and compose myself for the day. It was interesting to feel my hands and body get into the rhythm of the spinning and pick up speed and smoothness as I got into my groove. Sadly, just as I got into that groove it was time to get to work.

Tonight is my local yarn shop's knitting night, and I haven't been able to make it in for probably a month. I've decided I'm determined to go tonight and bring in another work in progress that really needs attention. Remember that red lace shawl from a while back? It has to be done by the end of this month. After knitting night wraps up (or after I go home to keep from murdering anyone or buying anything) I'll sit down at the wheel and get the rest of my hour in. I think I may finish the first half of that Targee I've been spinning for ages.

The other reason I need to get into the LYS is to bring in my entry for their shawl contest! The shawls will be displayed in the shop and customers will get to vote on their favorites. The prizes are gift certificates to the shop, and we all know I ALWAYS need more yarn, fiber, and supplies. I'm going to enter my most recent shawl, my handspun hitchhiker from a few months ago. Here's a pic:

Wish me luck! I know it's not a technically difficult pattern, but I'm hoping the beauty of the yarn and the elegance of the pattern will appeal to the voters. If you're in the area, stop by The Twisted Ewe and give me a vote!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WiP Wednesday #4

I've made some good progress since the last time I shared my projects in progress, and I even took the time to take decent photos this week, or at least better than the phone pics from a couple weeks ago.  You can click on the photos for a larger view if you like!

The Targee wool from Crown Mountain Farms is coming along nicely.  This bobbin plus the ball of unspun roving is the first half of the 4 oz I got.  I haven't focused much on spinning since I'm currently on a knitting deadline, but once in a while when my hands/wrists are too sore to knit I get out the wheel for a relaxing spin.

The kilt hose have come a long way since the last time I shared them too!  I've included a picture of the chart I made as well.  The pattern is from the much-sought Knitting Scottish Kilt Hose and Hiking Socks by Joanne Gibson Hinmon.  The book is really popular, but honestly I'm not sure why.  There are no charts, the patterns are full of typos, and the hose are made in a very counter-intuitive way.  This pattern was originally written top-down, with the legs knitted flat and then seamed up after you finish the fiddly business of picking up and knitting the feet in the round.  Being a pragmatic knitter prone to bouts of creativity and always sure I can reverse-engineer an easier way to do things, I converted the pattern, first to be made top-down in the round, then toe-up two-at-a-time in the round.  There are no seams, and with toe-up one could even try the hose on.  I made the chart using knitchart, and one of the benefits of knitting from the opposite end is that it only requires flipping the chart upside down! 

This sort of thing makes me feel like a Very Clever Lady, which usually ends with me in tears at 2 in the morning ripping out yet another ridiculous knitting experiment, but this time things are going very well!  Come join the fun and see what other Idahoans are making by clicking the button below.

Idaho Etsy Team

Friday, June 8, 2012

FO Friday!

Well, along with WiP Wednesday I thought it would be nice to occasionally share some items I've actually completed.  This doesn't happen nearly as frequently as I'd like, but it is nice to let people see what I'm up to.

Today's FO is some hand-painted corriedale roving from Fiber Fancy.  The colorway is called Jungle Fever, and I got it on sale.  Corriedale isn't next-to-the-skin soft, but the fiber was very well prepared and drafted beautifully.  Here's a picture of the fiber from the etsy shop:

And here's the finished fiber.  It's about 330 yards of sport-weight yarn, a fractal-plied three ply.  It hasn't told me what it wants to be yet.

I like devoting a day to finishing things up, sharing what I've completed, and remembering that every once in a while I am, in fact, productive.  What have you finished this week?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

WiP Wednesday #3

It's that time again, WiP Wednesday, where I show off the things I'm working on.  I've got crummy pictures this week because i used my phone, but I wanted to make sure I had something to share, so just imagine they're as lovely as Franklin Habit's photos.

First, I've got a pair of kilt hose on the needles.  They've progressed a bit since this photo, but not by nearly as much as I'd like.  The pattern is mostly from my head, with input from several toe-up sock calculators and books of kilt hose patterns.  I'll try to share these again once they look a little more like socks.

I'm also spinning some hand-dyed Targhee pencil roving from Crown Mountain Fibers.  Targhee sheep were developed right here in Idaho (and named for Targhee National Forest) at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in eastern Idaho.  The fleece is very soft and a nice length, and they are raised for meat too.  I don't have a lot so far, but it spins quickly since it was so well-prepared.

Finally, I'm also combing some fleece by hand for the Knitmore Girls SPAKAL, we are spinning and knitting an entire sweater.  I have to confess that this is going very slowly for me, hand-combing takes a long time.  The combs, which I think are just lovely, were made by my talented husband.

Check out all the good stuff going on at the Idaho Etsy Team and link to your blog by clicking below:

Idaho Etsy Team

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Project Planning

This summer brings together two very popular events in the fiber/crafting world. The Tour de Fleece runs June 30th through July 22nd. This is an event where spinners spin along with the Tour de France, spinning on cycling days and resting on rest days. Spinners typically set themselves a challenging goal and try to "win" by meeting their goal by the end of the tour.

 My goal is a simple one, to spin an hour a day every day of the Tour. Ideally I will have hand-combed all the fleece for the SPAKAL (spin and knit along) sweater that I am doing with the Knitmore Girls Podcast and I will spin that for the Tour, but in case I don't have it all done I will spin whatever I can for an hour a day. I have lots of stashed fiber to choose from.

The second big event comes not long after the Tour, it's the Ravelympics! During this event knitters cast on a project during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (July 27th) and try to finish it by the closing ceremonies (August 12th). Again, I have a hopefully goal and a backup goal. Hopefully I will be all done spinning for the SPAKAL and I will be able to knit the Eadon sweater for my project. However, if I'm not done with the spinning I will be doing the Shipwreck Shawl. I don't have a lot of money to splurge on supplies, and a friend gave me an entire bag of fingering weight teal mohair that will be lovely for that project, so all I'll need to get are beads. Either way it's a massive amount of knitting to do over a relatively short period, especially when you consider that I will be traveling for a week of that time to participate in a dance workshop that will probably take up a good chunk of my time and energy.

So, hopefully it will be a productive 6 weeks for me. What are your plans?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WiP Wednesday #2

Well, it's high time I came out of my shell and posted another work in progress with my friends over at the Idaho Etsy Team. Hopefully it will motivate me to get this sucker finished in time. I always say I hate deadline knitting and won't do it any more, but I just keep winding up with deadlines!

Here is a (rather crummy) photo of one of my many current WiPs, a lace shawl done as a swap for my friend Monica. The lace is madelinetosh prairie in the "tart" colorway, a truly stunning tonal red. The pattern is Lily Go's Narnia Shawl.

I am working on the shawl in size 2 needles. It's requiring a bit of improv because the shawl is designed for heavier yarns and larger needles, so it's slow going and extra repeats to get it to a respectable size.

I pinned the shawl to my couch to take this photo, but it's still not as flat and open as it will be when it's properly blocked. Someday this is going to grow up to be a magnificent shawl. I can't believe I'm giving it away!


Check out what else is going on in the Idaho team by clicking below.

Idaho Etsy Team

Have a super week, and let me know what you're working on lately.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday with the Idaho Etsy Team

Up to this point I've mainly used this blog to talk about items I'm selling or what's going on in my etsy shop, but I think it would be far more interesting if I try to use it to share information about my crafts, whether personal or for sale, as well. I am a member of the Idaho Etsy Team, and it's high time I joined in the fun of their weekly WiP Wednesday feature, where members post about what projects they have in the works. I just started a new knitting project today, it is one of my eighteenth-century Scottish bonnets for a client. The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the color Amber Heather and it's beautiful, it just glows! The bonnet's small now, but I will probably have it done in no more than a couple of days. It's a quick and easy pattern and I'm a speedy knitter. Photobucket The other project I've got in the works is a group project with listeners of the Knitmore Girls Podcast, they are doing a SPAKAL (spin and knit along), we are all going to make a sweater in 2012! I am doing the whole shebang, I have a bag of fleece just off the sheep and I will be preparing, dyeing, spinning, and knitting. It will be a big project, but I know I'll love the process. Here are a few pictures of the fleece: Photobucket Photobucket I wish I could somehow transmit how soft and springy this fleece is! It's very clean, but there is still some lanolin in it, which makes my hands really soft when I spin. Come on over to the Idaho Etsy Team team blog and check out what other folks are knitting!

Idaho Etsy Team