Woo-Hoo! FO Friday!

I actually have some knitting FOs to share today. All are knitted from my very own handspun. Here are pictures and descriptions.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

On the left is the Andraste Turns A Square hat, which is Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern, a simple but fun beanie that I enjoy knitting. The pattern is written for using two colors of yarn, but it works really well with self-striping yarn, and you don’t end up with color jogs.

On the right is my A Head for Andraste hat, which is the Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits. It was a lot of fun to knit. I understand why it is such a popular pattern.

The hat and mitts below were knitted from yarn I spun using Bee Mice Elf fiber in the Fall 2014 Club colorway, which I call Rustle.


Rustling Leaves Slouchy Hat and Braided Cable Mitts were made to go together.

I didn’t use a pattern for the hat, and the pattern for the mitts is one of my own devising.

I had a lot of the “Rustle” yarn, about 8 ounces total, so I made this set of matching mitts and hat, too.

The mitts are the Braided Mitts by Tara Johnson (free download on Ravelry) which I modified for a better look and fit. I then “designed” the hat myself using the same cable as in the Braided Mitts pattern.

There are also two pairs of mitts knitted from Andraste, but I’m not quite ready to share those with you yet.

I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of Andraste and “Rustle.” First, I spun them up into beautiful yarn, then I knitted that yarn into lovely and useful articles of clothing. What comes next is the pleasure of wearing and/or gifting these handspun handknits.




Another Finished Object Friday

I still have no knitting to report. I’ve added a few rows to each of the socks I have OTN, but nothing substantial. However, the spinning keeps, um, spinning along.

I started with this lovely Corriedale top from Into The Whirled in a colorway called Mud Bogs & Moonshine…

and ended with 8 ounces and just under 1000 yards of this lovely fingering weight 2-ply.

I spun one bump end to end on one bobbin. The second bump was split vertically (lengthwise) 12 times and spun the strips end to end keeping the colors in the same sequence. Then I plied the two singles together to make this gorgeous fractal 2-ply. I’m thinking scarf, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. The spinning was done in double drive on my Matchless at a ratio of 15.5:1; the plying was done in flyer lead (Scotch tension) at a ratio of 12.5:1. My Ravelry project page is here.

And there’s more! I also completed this braid of Shetland wool from the Spunky Eclectic Club Remix.

The colorway is State Park. it reminds me of a meadow in Spring, with all the flowers in bloom.

I made a 3-ply DK weight yarn, about 240 yards and 4 ounces.

I stripped the braid vertically into thirds as evenly as I could, then spun the strips end to end on separate bobbins. I was hoping that the colors would line up in at least some places, and they did! I love how the colors blended. This yarn will probably become either a hat or some fingerless mitts.

This was the very first project I spun on my Matchless. I used double drive and a ratio of 15.5:1. The plying was done on my Ladybug in flyer lead using a ratio of 12.5:1.

My current spinning project has been a pretty slow go because I am spinning up 8 ounces of BFL from Spunky Eclectic to make a lace weight 2-ply yarn.

This is the nicest BFL I have ever spun.

The ratio I’m using is 19.5:1, and spinning such thin yarn really takes a lot of time. But I am enjoying it a lot, and I don’t feel guilty about binge-watching Boardwalk Empire because I’m spinning while I watch.

This is the first bump/bobbin, which I finished several days ago. The second bobbin is now nearly finished.

I hope yinz have a great weekend. It’s supposed to get hot again here, but we are ready. Our A/C, which went on the fritz a couple of weeks ago, has been replaced, so hot and humid doesn’t scare me any more. 🙂


Handspun FO Friday

I don’t have any knitted finished objects to share, but I do have some handspun.

I finished the second bump of Into The Whirled Great Minds, which is a superwash Targhee wool. The fiber went from this

Aren’t these colors gorgeous together?

to this.


I spun the fiber end to end, then chain plied it to get a worsted-weight yarn.

I had divided the first bump in half vertically (lengthwise) and spun it up into two 2-oz skeins that are destined to become fingerless mitts, so I spun the second bump end-to-end to make a skein for a matching hat.


The skein on the left is for a hat. The two on the right are for the fingerless mitts. I think it will make a nice set, don’t you?

I also finished a Loop Bullseye Bump that I spun end to end and then chain plied. It hasn’t told me yet what it wants to be when it grows up. 🙂


This colorway is called Pur-plexed, and it is a purple-lover’s dream.

Here are my two newest creations side by side.


The skeins are resting on the treadles of my Ashford Traveller. My Travvy is currently being stored in my bedroom while the house renovations are ongoing. I haven’t spun on her for over two months now, and I miss her. I think I might bring her back downstairs. She’s light, so it’s easy to carry her back upstairs if I need to.

It is amazing how differently different fibers behave, even when spun and plied the same way on the same spinning wheel. The superwash Targhee became a very squishy yarn that poofed up a lot after it was washed. It has a lot of bounce to it. The Loop bump is mostly Merino wool, and it didn’t poof up as much as the Targhee. It, too, is pretty squishy, but it doesn’t have as much bounce as the Targhee.

Both skeins were wound on the same niddy noddy, but when they came off, you can see that the Loop skein was considerably longer than the ITW skein. That’s because the Targhee yarn is stretchier than Merino yarn.


That’s all for this FO Friday. I hope you have a great friday.

FO Happy Dance!

It’s been a while since I did a Finished Object Friday blog entry. Is it like riding a bike?

Let’s start with this lovely skein of chain-plied Falkland from Bee Mice Elf. The colorway is Winter 2015 from the fiber club.

Spun in double drive, chain plied in Irish tension on my Ladybug.

I spun this using a technique I learned from Felicia Lo’s Craftsy class, Spinning Dyed Fibers. I split the braid lengthwise repeatedly into thin strips, then spun them end to end, keeping the colors in the same sequence, and then I chain plied the singles. This creates a striping yarn with shorter color repeats. As you can see from the picture, there is a little more color mixing than you normally see in chain-plied handspun. This yarn is destined to become fingerless mitts. I have another bump of this colorway, which I spun using a different technique, and which will become a matching hat, but the skein isn’t quite finished yet, so no picture yet. Sorry.

My other FO is a skein spun from Masham, dyed by Spunky Eclectic in a colorway called Verdigris.

Another chain-plied yarn spun in double drive and plied in Irish tension on my Ladybug.

I spun this using a “fractal” technique described by Benjamin Krudwig on the Schacht Spindle Blog. It’s quite different from the standard fractal spin because it keeps the colors separate but causes the color repeats to become progressively shorter. With the standard fractal spin, which is a 2-ply, the colors are blended in a way that results in a subtle striping effect.

I think of all the colorways I’ve spun since I first picked up a spindle in June of 2012, Verdigris is my very favorite. I also enjoyed spinning the Masham wool. I had never spun it before, but I will most certainly spin it again. It’s very similar to Shetland and would not be next-to-skin soft for many people. But I think to would make a great cowl or fingerless mitts or socks.

I also have another bump of Verdigris which has also been spun and plied, but quite differently from Skein #1. When it’s finished, I’ll photograph the two skeins side by side so that you can see just how different they look. You might find it hard to believe they were spun from the same colorway.

Does This Count As Finished?

Yes, it’s FO Friday, and I’m posting this even though it isn’t technically finished.

I took this lovely braid of BFL from Turtlepurl,

Boys Have Cooties is the name of this colorway.

split it “fractally” and spun it into singles onto two bobbin on my Ashford Traveller in DD,

A bobbin full of Boys Have Cooties

A bobbin full of Boys Have Cooties


Both bobbins on the kate

Both bobbins on the kate

plied it on my Travvy in ST into a 2-ply yarn,

Plying in progress

Plying in progress

and ended up with this lovely light-fingering weight, 2-ply yarn.

Boys Have Cooties straight off the niddy noddy

Boys Have Cooties straight off the niddy noddy

Blue and green make pretty. 🙂

I haven’t set the twist yet because I ran out of wool wash. I could use a little dish soap or shampoo, but that would require rinsing. And I’m too lazy for that. I’ll just wait until the Eucalan I ordered arrives to finish the yarn.

Visit Tami’s FO Friday to see more lovely hand-crafted stuff.


The Syncopated Alpaca Socks

It’s another Finished Object Friday, and although the Tour de Fleece is in full swing, the FO I am sharing with you today is not a spinning or plying project. It’s a pair of socks.

I call these socks The Syncopated Alpaca Socks because they are my take on Mary Henninger’s Syncopation Socks and are knitted in a scrumptious alpaca yarn from Berroco, Ultra Alpaca Fine. There was no color number or name on the label, so I have no idea what the color is called. I only know that my pictures don’t do it justice.

The Syncopated Alpaca Socks in all their glory!

The original Syncopation Socks are knitted toe-up with a gusset heel. I knitted mine cuff-down with a short row heel and finished them off with a round toe.

For the heel, I gave the Fish Lips Kiss Heel a try. I didn’t do all the measuring, nor did I make the cardboard cut-out because it simply didn’t seem necessary. Since I was knitting the socks cuff down, I simply started the heel when the leg of the sock was the length I wanted it to be. The FLKH is knitted with an inch of plain knitting on the heel stitches of the sock while maintaining the patterning on the instep stitches before beginning the short rows. This is a matter of aesthetics and is something I have done in the past when knitting my usual short-row heels.

The FLKH uses a method for making short rows that doesn’t involve wrapping stitches. Instead, you manipulate stitches from the row below the working stitch, which gives you a pair of stitches that are eventually knitted or purled together. These are called “twin stitches,” and this method of making short rows is sometimes called shadow wrap or shadow twin short rows. When all the decrease and increase rows have been worked, you end up with a very nicely-shaped and well-fitting heel. Sadly, the line of short row stitches isn’t very attractive.

My Fish Lips Kiss Heel close up.

This heel design really does fit better than any other short-row heel I have tried. I normally knit short-row heels on 60% of the stitches on my needles in order to accommodate my high instep. However, I worked this heel on just 50% of the stitches, and it fits me better than any heel I have ever tried. I think the secret is that the way the short rows are worked, you end up with an extra round between the decrease rows and the increase rows. This creates a more rounded heel pocket and hence a better fit.

Although I really don’t like the appearance of the short rows themselves, the fantastic fit more than makes up for the ugly. This is definitely my new go-to short row heel. I’ll take fit over beauty anytime when it comes to my feet. 🙂

Fractal Friday

It’s been a while since I posted a finished object on Finished Object Friday, so I’m pretty happy to have something to post today.

I already told yinz about the fractal spin challenge I participated in on the Schacht Spinners group on Ravelry in a previous blog post.

Here are the final results.

The singles spun on two bobbins on my Schacht Ladybug in double drive

The singles plied together. I couldn’t quite fit it all onto one bobbin. I plied on my Ladybug in Scotch tension.

The 2-ply yarn straight off the niddy noddy

The finished skein. Honey Bear likes it. The silk gives the yarn a nice sheen, and the BFL gives it a nice halo.

The yarn is very fine.

My finished yarn is over 1300 yards in 115 grams, which is very fine lace weight. Overall, I’m very pleased with this spin. If I could do one thing over again, I would have started spinning the singles from the dark pink end instead of the green end so that when I started plying, I would have started with a solid green stripe. But all in all, this fractal spin was a rousing success.

So Much To Learn (Plus A Finished Object)

A little while ago, I was telling yinz about spinning in double drive on my new spinning wheel, an Ashford Traveller. I mentioned that I love spinning in DD on it when using the regular flyer, but that I had all kinds of trouble when I tried DD using the high-speed flyer. I chalked it up to operator error/inexperience.

I can be a bit stubborn persistent when I get something in my head, and I really, really wanted to remedy my inability to spin in double drive using the high-speed flyer. So after I finished up this project–

Lovely BFL pin-drafted roving from Sunset Fibers

The roving unwound for dividing in half

After dividing the roving in half lengthwise, I had two bumps to spin. I spun one bump as is; the other I divided in half lengthwise again and spun it onto one bobbin end to end.

I spun the roving in double drive using the regular flyer.

I plied the singles from the two bumps together to get this gorgeous, 2-ply, lace weight BFL yarn.

I decided to give the high-speed whorl another whirl in double drive. (Did you see what I did there?) So I removed the regular flyer and put on the high-speed flyer. But this time, instead of using the shorter and thinner drive band I had used before when I tried the fast flyer, I just used the regular drive band.

I had to tilt the MOA a lot to get the band tensioned properly, and I was worried this would cause a problem.

The mother of all is tilted pretty far to the right, looking from behind the wheel.

You can see how far up the tensioning screw is.

But then I started spinning a braid of superfine Merino top that I bought from Spinneretta’s Studio,

Lovely superfine Merino wool from Spinneretta’s Studio in a colorway called Bloody Broomstick

and–OH MY! It was heaven. There is a bit of vibration in the maidens with the MOA tilted back so far, but it’s not enough to be annoying. And it’s nothing compared to the vibration I get with the bulky flyer on my Lendrum.

This is the thinnest and most consistent yarn I have ever spun, and it’s effortless.

The first bobbin. Note that I’m using the larger pulley. I was afraid to try the smaller pulley because I don’t know how far I can tilt the MOA before I start having serious problems.

Can you see how thin these singles are? Pretty much sewing thread.

Of course, I’m only on the first of four bobbins I plan to spin and ply to make a 4-ply yarn destined to become fingerless mitts, and the spinning gremlins might show up at any time, but so far, so good.

There’s always something new to learn in the art (and science) of spinning, and I’m learning something new with every project I start. And I don’t know what I would do without the community of spinners and knitters on Ravelry and in the blogosphere. The are the most helpful and generous folks on the face of the Earth.

Don’t forget to check out Tami’s FO Friday to see what other fiber artists are up to.


Another Finished Object Friday

It’s FO Friday again, and I have finally finished knitting the dark red top-down raglan for my son that is based on Heidi Kirrmaier’s pattern Tea With Jam and Bread, which is available on Ravelry.

Although Heidi’s design includes broad stripes, I knitted my version of the sweater in one solid color. I bought the pattern because it comes in a large variety of sizes from children’s to men’s XXL  and because it uses short rows to raise the back of the neck. Having this pattern saves me from doing a lot of math to figure out how many stitches, how many inches, how many decreases, etc. I like not having to do the math myself. The math isn’t difficult, it’s just, well, math. There’s a reason I was a Latin major in college, not a math major. 🙂

Anyway, I loved knitting the neck with the short rows–and the technique Heidi recommends that uses yarn overs instead of wraps is easy to do and virtually invisible–but I’m not thrilled with how the back of the neck curls.

The curl should disappear when the sweater is blocked.

The curl should disappear when the sweater is blocked.

But I am pretty confident that curl will disappear once the sweater is washed (it’s soaking as I type) and blocked.

The only modifications I made to the pattern, aside from not knitting stripes and not adding pockets, is to add a few short rows to the upper, middle, and lower back of the sweater to lengthen the back a bit and give my son a better fit, and to knit the body of the sweater a couple of inches longer overall to accommodate my son’s long torso. His sweaters tend to ride up a bit in the back, and the extra length from the short rows should eliminate that problem.

The completed sweater before blocking

The completed sweater before blocking

The yarn is Regal from Briggs and Little in New Brunswick, Canada. It’s a 2-ply wool that comes in 4-oz/113g put-ups of 272 yds/248m. The color is #73 Red, and it is a very dark red that is slightly on the rusty end of the red spectrum. It’s quite lovely, but then, I’ve never met a red I didn’t love.

The yarn itself is a bit rustic, not being either tightly spun or tightly plied, but it’s quite sturdy nonetheless. There was a lot of VM (vegetable matter for you muggles) in the yarn that I ended up removing with tweezers as I knit. This was a minor PITA, but I really don’t mind because all the VM means that the wool was not highly processed with chemicals that dissolve plant matter. This yarn is a heavy worsted weight bordering on Aran weight, but it’s pretty lofty, so the sweater ought to be quite warm, especially in proportion to its weight.

Now that the sweater is done, I can get to work on knitting a bunch of fingerless mitts. I have a lot of odds and ends of worsted weight wool to use up, and I know lots of people who could use a pair or two of hand-knitted mitts. So many patterns, so little time. 🙂


At Last, FO Friday!

It’s been a while since I posted a Finished Object Friday entry. It’s not for a lack of FOs. It’s more because I’ve been busy with preparing for and cleaning up after Thanksgiving. And watching a lot of hockey games. And doing a lot of knitting. And doing some reading, too.

Unfortunately, when it comes to blogging, I’ve been a bit of a slacker. I’m determined to change that and get back to posting more regularly. Only time will tell whether I succeed. 🙂

Fingerless mitts. What more can I say? They are all the rage now, and for very good reason. Fingerless mitts help keep your hands warm while leaving your fingers free to operate the touch screen on your portable device–smart phone, tablet, iPod touch, etc. They are also wonderful for people like me who don’t like to wear gloves when they drive. And they are an excellent way to add an extra layer of warmth to the hands on a frigid day by slipping them over a pair of gloves. It doesn’t hurt that they look pretty, too.

For a knitter, fingerless mitts are a dream project. They can be knitted in any thickness of yarn, from lace weight (doubled) to bulky, but fingering, sport, and worsted weight seem to work best. There are tons of fingerless mitts patterns, both free and paid, available on Ravelry, but once you know the basic construction, it’s simple enough to design your own. They take only a small amount of yarn, usually less than 100 grams, and very little time. Depending on the pattern, a single mitt can be completed in an evening’s worth of knitting. And it’s pretty easy to guesstimate size by trying the mitts on. Ribbed patterns are very forgiving. 🙂

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve finished three pairs of fingerless mitts, two of which are my own design. Aren’t I clever?

clockwise from lower left: Maureen’s Zig Zag Mitts, Midwinter Staghorn Mitts, and Twisted Fold Over Mitts

The Staghorn Mitts are knitted from one ball of Knit Picks Chroma worsted weight, which is a singles yarn that is incredibly soft, using  4.25mm dpns. I don’t know how well it will hold up with wearing, but the mitts are luscious freshly knitted.

Midwinter Staghorn Mitts, front and back

I used this pattern from Tera Johnson that is available free on Ravelry. I made only a handful of modifications to the pattern. I added some extra rounds of 2 x 2 ribbing to the cuffs, and I did an extra gusset increase.

Don’t look too closely at my fingernails. It isn’t a pretty sight. 🙂

But otherwise, I knitted the pattern as written. And, as you can see, I was able to match the color repeats almost perfectly, in spite of there being a knot in the ball of Chroma.

The blue heather mitts, knitted from one skein of Cascade 220 on 4.25mm dpns, have fold over cuffs both at the wrist and at the fingers.

One mitt with the cuffs folded, the other with the cuffs unfolded

The double fabric gives extra warmth and adds versatility. On very cold days, the cuff at the fingers can be unfolded to cover the fingers, almost like mittens, and the cuff at the wrist can be unfolded under the sleeve of the coat but over the sleeve of the inner garment to keep out the wind. Clever, eh?

I admit to stealing this idea. When pattern surfing on Ravelry, I saw a pair of mitts that had a fold over cuff at the fingers and thought it was a great idea. So I stole it. 🙂

Anyway, the Twisted Fold Over Mitts are a simple 2 x 2 rib with 3 columns of RT (right twist-knit into the second stitch on the left-hand needle, then knit into the first stitch and drop both stitches from the left-hand needle) pseudo cables on the back of the hand to gussy them up a bit.

Don’t they look warm and cozy?

If you knit them in just 2 x 2 rib, the mitts will be reversible, that is, each mitt will fit both the left and the right hand.

The red mitts, Maureen’s Zig Zag Mitts, are also my own design. They are the same basic mitts as the Twisted Fold Over Mitts, but only the wrist has a fold over cuff, and the RTs have been replaced with alternating C2B and C2F to create a zig-zag cable that looks a lot like rick rack. (Do young people today even know what rick rack is? LOL)

You can see both the palm side and the back-of-the-hand side in this picture. I apologize for how crappy the picture is. My camera doesn’t do red for some reason.

The yarn is Lion Brand Wool, which is Aran weight (a heavy worsted weight) in scarlet, and it is a lovely wool to knit with. It’s one of the few worthwhile yarns you can purchase in big box craft stores like Michaels.

I have a large storage container filled with single balls of worsted weight yarn, so expect a lot more fingerless mitts this winter.