Do You Want To See Some FOs?

It’s Finished Object Friday, and although house guests followed by painting a room in preparation for having new carpeting being laid has made updating my blog a low priority, I have still been knitting and spinning. But since it’s Friday, and the only FOs I have are handspun yarn, I won’t talk about my knitting today. My reason for ignoring my knitting has nothing to do with the fact that I’m still a little ticked at myself for knitting the second sleeve of Cassidy to within a couple rows of casting off before I realized that I had forgotten to change to the bigger needles after knitting the cuff and having to rip out pretty much an entire sleeve and starting it over from the end of the cuff. No, that’s not the reason I’m not talking about my knitting today. Really. It isn’t. Well, maybe it’s totally the reason. Please don’t judge me. 🙂

Anyway, I finished all the projects from my last spinning update, and I thought you might enjoy seeing how the yarn turned out.

Here’s the totally finished gradient I spun. It’s beautiful in the skein, and I need to find just the perfect project for it.

Polwarth gradient from Spinneretta’s Studio

This is the best chain-plying I have done yet.  The more I chain-ply, the more comfortable I am with the technique and the better the results. I feel almost competent at chain-plying. Almost. 🙂

Then there was the bright orange, red, and yellow Polwarth from BohoKnitterChic that I decided should become a 4-ply yarn.

Fire Truck in a bucket

I also spun up and plied the lovely braid of Merino/Nylon blend from Mustard Seed Yarn Lab into some 3-ply sock yarn.

A 3-ply Merino/Nylon handspun sock yarn

I really need to get cracking on the knitting and finished my current WIP so that I can cast on some of this beautiful handspun.

If you want to see some other beautiful FOs, please visit Tami’s blog.

Black And Blue FO Friday

I promised you a finished object, so it’s time to deliver. Last Sunday I completed my Black and Blue Ribs Socks.

They were knitted in Trekking XXL sock yarn in color 35. Trekking XXL is one of my very favorite sock yarns. It’s a workhorse yarn that wears really well. It’s a bit thinner than most fingering-weight sock yarns, so I usually knit it up on 2.25 mm needles instead of my usual 2.5 mm, and I cast on 80 stitches instead of 72. I’m always amazed at sock knitters who cast on only 64 or even 56 stitches. They must have very narrow feet and tiny calves, or perhaps they knit their socks at a much larger gauge than I do. I like my socks to be 8.5-9.5 stitches per inch, so 64 stitches just won’t do. But I digress.

Trekking XXL comes in a huge variety of great colorways, and I have never been disappointed with how a Trekking colorway knitted up until I made these socks. I had no idea when I bought this yarn that it would knit up in a “camo” pattern. I don’t like the camouflage look, and I was really disappointed when I realized this colorway is camo because I love the combination of blue, black, and gray. I was expecting more of a striping pattern, but instead, I got this.

Black and Blue Ribs socks in “camo” yarn

The stitch pattern is a simple Shadow Rib pattern, which is one of my very favorite patterns for socks. It looks good in almost any yarn, solid, tonal, semi-solid, patterned, self-striping, or hand-dyed. And it’s easy to knit, but interesting. I started with a 2 x 2 ribbed cuff, then worked the Shadow Rib pattern. The heel flap is Eye of Partridge. I worked the gusset decreases on the sole of the foot again,

Heel gusset decreases were made on the sole.

but I reversed the shaping, switching k2tog for ssk and vice versa, because I was curious as to how it would look.

The gusset decreases lean right on the right side of the heel and left on the left side of the heel.

I must admit that I really, really like knitting the gusset decreases on the sole. It looks nice, and the fit is fantastic.

Black and Blue Ribs on a “model.” Please ignore the old lady skin.

Be sure to check out FO Friday on Tami’s blog.

Magical Merino

This lovely braid of Merino that I purchased from OnTheRound that I have been spinning during the Tour de Fleece has kind of been center stage lately.

And it’s no wonder. The fiber is beautiful, the seemingly infinite shades of blue are vibrant, and when the yarn was all spun up and plied, the colors blended perfectly.

When I took the skein off the niddy noddy, I knew that I had made a very special yarn. The Merino is very soft and springy, and for once I didn’t over-ply the singles. I was very please with every aspect of this yarn, especially the yardage–approximately 340 yards of sport-weight yarn. Then I took the yarn upstairs to set the twist in the bathroom sink. I filled the sink with hot water, added a few drops of Soak, and submerged the yarn and gently squeezed it until I was sure it was completely saturated with water. Then I left it to soak for 20 or 30 minutes.

When the yarn had soaked long enough, I drained the sink and squeezed the excess water out of the yarn. The second my hands touched the fiber, I knew something magical had happened. My Merino had been transformed into a plump, fluffy, stretchy yarn that was no longer sport-weight but DK weight.

I wrapped the skein in a towel to get out as much moisture as I could and hung the skein over the shower head to dry. Every time I passed the bathroom, I had to stop and fondle the yarn. As it dried, it retained it’s fluffy plumpness. Trust me, it’s a yarn you just want to cuddle with.

The finished skein in all its glory

The finished skein in all its glory

I don’t know whether or not I should be surprised that my Merino yarn pulled a “Polwarth Poof” on me. I’ve never spun pure Merino wool before, just blends, so I have no previous knowledge of how Merino behaves. I know that Polwarth fluffs and plumps up when the newly-plied yarn is put in water to set the twist–the famous (among spinners) “Polwarth Poof”–but I didn’t know that Merino behaved in the same manner.

I have yet to decided what to do with this yarn, but it really has to become a garment that is worn next to the skin, a cowl perhaps? Or maybe a shawlette? Who knows. But whatever it becomes, I know it will be soft and beautiful and very special.

Be sure to visit Tami’s FO Friday to see other fabulous finished objects.

Socks And Yarn

It’s another Finished Object Friday, and I have two things to report. To be honest, I’m amazed I have any finished items to report at all because I have a bazillion projects OTN. But I get to do the happy dance because I did manage to finish the 3 x 2 ribbed socks I knitted for the DH.

Simple but elegant 3 x 2 ribbed socks

Simple but elegant 3 x 2 ribbed socks

The yarn is Schaefer Anne, 60% superwash Merino, 25% Mohair, and 15% Nylon. The Merino makes the yarn soft, the Mohair gives it a subtle halo, and the Nylon makes it strong. In Ireland, there are posters all over the place promoting Guinness stout, and many of them sport the tagline, “Guinness makes you strong.” I think of Nylon as yarn Guinness. Add a little to your  yarn, and your socks will wear forever. The very first pair of socks I knitted in sock yarn–Socka in bright red–are now about 15 years old and still going strong. I have four or five other socks OTN at the moment, but that’s a story for another day. 🙂

Now it’s on to the other star of the day, handspun yarn. Remember this lovely BFL fiber from Sunset Fibers that I have been spinning?

 

Well, I spun 3 bobbins of singles and plied them together to make a gorgeous sport-weight 3-ply.

 

This fiber, which is a mix of white, gray, and black Blue Faced Leicester wool, spins up into a beautiful, heathery yarn.

 

And being BFL, it is as soft as can be. I have two more braids of hand-dyed mixed BFL, or swirl BFL as it is also called, up in my fiber stash that I purchased from two other dyers. After seeing how lovely the fiber from Sunset Fibers turned out, I’m eager to spin more mixed BFL. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Don’t forget to visit Tami’s FO Friday page to see some amazing Finished Objects.

 

 

 

Hitchhiker

This is truly a Finished Object Friday for me. My Hitchhiker is done.

 

It’s knitted in Falkland wool, a 2-ply, fingering weight yarns in beautiful shades of blue that I spun from fiber I bought from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Dog Days Are Gone.

Hitchhiker is a very simple pattern to knit. It’s mostly garter stitch–there are the occasional purl stitches, and regular kfb increases–but it never gets boring. I love watching how the colors of the yarn stacked and flowed.

And now that my scarf is finished, the weather is way too warm for a wool scarf, so I will have to wait for fall to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Softer Than Soft

I wish the Internet had the capability of allowing you, dear reader, to touch my Cormo handspun because a picture just cannot tell you how soft it is. Neither can words. You have to touch it to know this kind of softness.

I divided 4 ounces of natural Cormo fiber that I bought from Woolgatherings into 1-ounce bumps and spun each bump onto a separate bobbin on my Ladybug. This fiber, which is a Corriedale-Merino cross, loves to be spun very fine. After I had spun up all the fiber, I then plied it on the Ladybug to create a lovely 4-ply. The result is approximately 380 yards of sumptuously soft sportweight yarn that just screams to be next to my skin.

DSC02729

I have not yet selected a pattern for this yarn, so if you have any suggestions, I love to hear them.

Be sure to visit Tami’s website to see other FOs on this lovely Friday.

Still Knitting

Yes, I’m still knitting, and spinning, too, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog because, well, there just hasn’t been any blog to read. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.

If you don’t believe me when I say I have been knitting and spinning up a storm, here’s the proof. First, the FOs:

The Bayside Pullover is completed and fits its recipient perfectly.

The Bayside Pullover is completed and fits its recipient perfectly.

Reversible Rib Mitts (Ravelry pattern) in Lang Jawoll sport weight sock yarn in Spice colorway

Reversible Rib Mitts (Ravelry pattern) in Lang Jawoll sport weight sock yarn in Spice colorway

My recently completed handspun yarn

My recently completed handspun yarn

And the WIP:

Greg's 3 x 2 ribbed socks (the heel of the second sock was turned last night, but I'm too lazy to take another picture.)

Greg’s 3 x 2 ribbed socks (The heel of the second sock was turned last night, but I’m too lazy to take another picture.)

James's top-down raglan

James’s top-down raglan

Emily's Cassidy, back and left front

Emily’s Cassidy, back and left front

Trekking 2 x 2 ribbed sock

Trekking 2 x 2 ribbed sock

Next week I will write about these projects in more detail. I promise. 🙂

And don’t forget to check out Tami’s FO Friday.

Sunshiny Day

Yes, another FO Friday is here, and in my world, the sun is shining, both literally and figuratively. Yes, the Sunshine Ribbed Socks are done.

Sunshine Ribbed Socks happily posing on the front porch

Sunshine Ribbed Socks happily posing on the front porch

Because the yarn that inspired these socks–Draygone Yarnes in Let The Sunshine In–is so freaking gorgeous, I went with a rather plain vanilla pattern. The leg and instep are done in a simple 4 x 2 ribbing (k4, p2) on 72 stitches using 2.5mm Chiao Goo 6-inch double-pointed needles. I worked a traditional heel-flap-and-gusset heel using EOP (eye of partridge) stitch for the heel with a 3-stitch garter edge on each side of the heel flap. The toe is a round toe. When a colorway is as beautiful as this one is, it is best to stick with a very simple pattern and let the yarn be the star of the sock. I prefer to use ribbing in some form on the leg and instep because it conforms to the shape of the leg and foot and makes for a better fitting sock.

This sock is my last one of 2012. My first sock of 2013 is already under way. In fact, I started it in 2012, but just barely, so I will be taking it up in earnest now that the Sunshine socks are done.

Aside from finished the Sunshine socks, I’ve been swatching for some sweaters. For many knitters, swatching is a dirty word, but I think it is essential when knitting an item that really needs to fit properly. I know the heartbreak of finishing a sweater, only to discover that it is either too small or too big for its intended recipient. I think that it is important to knit a generous swatch and then launder it the way the sweater will be laundered. That way, you will know how the yarn and any pattern stitches will behave in real life. This is especially important when knitting cables or when using a yarn you have never knitted with before or a fiber that changes dramatically when washed. I blogged about this back when I was knitting St. Enda for my son, so I won’t go on about it now. If you want to read my old blog post, click here. Anyway, you are bound to be hearing more about my sweater knitting in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned. 😀

 

Pride Cometh…

I’ll admit it. I’m really proud of these socks.

Sparkly Garter Rib Socks

Sparkly Garter Rib Socks

I’ve knitted well over a hundred pairs of socks, but this is the very first pair I have ever knitted with yarn that I spun. They aren’t the prettiest socks I have made, but I still rather like them.

On the spinning front, I finished spinning and plying the lovely Corriedale roving from Sunset Fibers. The yarn is still on the bobbin, but I considered it to be a finished object and eligible for inclusion in a FO Friday post. 🙂

2-ply wheel-spun Corriedale

2-ply wheel-spun Corriedale

Happy Winter Solstice to all of you.

☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃☃

Spinning

I’m sorry to say I haven’t knitted a stitch on either of my socks since Wednesday, so today’s FOs are all spinning projects.

Shown first is a lovely skein of BFL/Silk yarn that I spun and plied on my Ladybug. I chain-plied the yarn and I hope you can tell that my chain-plying is improving.

Greenwood Fiberworks BFL/Tussah silk in Peacock

Greenwood Fiberworks BFL/Tussah silk in Peacock

I love the colors in this fiber. Of course, they look much better in real life than in the picture. Photography is something at which I totally and absolutely suck.

Next is a sample skein I spun and plied on spindles. The fiber is Falkland from Unwind Yarn Company in the O Negative colorway.

A tiny skein of Falkland

A tiny skein of Falkland

I was able to spin the fiber very, very thin and I ended up with a lovely 2-ply lace weight yarn, which is what I was hoping for. I will spin and ply the rest of the braid in the same manner and I should end up with enough yarn to knit a small shawl. The different shades of red give the finished yarn a depth of color that is just stunning in person. Unfortunately, at photography I suck.

Lastly, I present to you the finished undyed BFL that I spun and plied on the Ladybug.

DSC02377_2

There is one very large hank, which hasn’t been skeined yet because it isn’t completely dry, and a small skein. The large hank is the first bobbin’s worth that I plied and the small skein is what didn’t fit onto the first bobbin. They yarn is probably a DK weight and it is soft beyond belief. I’m getting much better at plying on the wheel.

So, that’s what I have to report on this FO Friday. What have you finished?