More Samples

I plyed up the green/turquoise loop sample I had, and ended up with 75 yards of 2 ply laceweight.


So I had to put them all 3 together and see what they looked like that way.


I rather like it! I actually have another light blue sample, but it is much larger than the others so it may take awhile to finish.

Wrapping up

As I wrap up this year in crafting and assess how the year has gone, I realize that my focus has changed majorly this year. While past years saw me knitting miles and miles of yarn, for instance 2011 saw over 18 miles of yarn knit, this year I didn’t even manage to average a mile a month. My total came in at 11.5. However, my spinning totals are up a bit. 5.04 miles spun rather than less than 4 in the past. But if I look at it overall, my focus has shifted considerably to fiber prep and experimentation, rather than knitting with commercial yarns. My spinning focus has shifted to learning to spindle spin. While I do still spin on my wheel, the wheel has become just another tool, rather than the be all end all of spinning it once was. Support spindling has me spinning in a far more relaxed setting and way than I have ever achieved on a wheel, and so I get more accomplished and enjoy it more.

In the upcoming year, there will be weaving. I have decided that it is time to learn, and I am eager for a way to use my handspun yarns differently than just knitting them into simple shawls. I intend to keep experimenting with different wools and fibers, stuff I’ve never tried before. I want to keep spindling, and I want to make thicker consistent yarns. I am hoping to knit a colorwork sweater out of handspun wool fleece undyed paired with handspun dyed wool top. In the upcoming year I will track pounds spun rather than miles spun, as I’d like to get an idea of just how much wool I go through in a year. Tracking the miles of finished yarn doesn’t really give a good indication of that.

And so, the theme for next year is continued learning and experimentation. Appropriately for that, I am again going to talk about the Rambouillet cram pot dyed wool. I finished flick carding it all last night. I also used what I had already spun to start plying it to get an idea of how it would look when it was done. Now, this is the sproingiest most elastic wool I’ve ever knit, and actually getting something resembling neat and tidy has been a challenge. I plied VERY slowly, yanking off any nepps I could as I plied. Then I gave it a warm water soak and thwacked it really really hard against concrete. This was to make the yarn bloom as much as possible, covering the majority of the inconsistencies. I took a picture this morning of the yarn hanging next to another skein I plied yesterday. Both skeins were skeined on my 80 inch niddy noddy, and hanging, you can see just what a difference in elasticity there is. I lost about 12 inches overall on the skein of rambo. This means that rather than the 131 yards I THOUGHT I had, I will have to recount later.


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Samples Again

A loop sample is this wonderful and perfect amount of fiber to spin up in an evening, and thus I find them downright irresistible. I’d had a really tough long day last week and by the time I got home, I didn’t have anything left for brain power. I just needed to sit and do something particularly relaxing. So I picked on the Neal Brand tibetan and started on a loop sample. By the time I put Bug to bed, I was finishing up the spinning, so I pulled out my wheel, made a plying bracelet, and plyed it up. I have 46 yards of 2 ply laceweight this time, in a lovely beige color. Of course, as soon as it was done I grabbed my green/teal sample and got started on that. All in all, the best way to relax after a long day.



My cram pot dyeing experiment continues in the flick carding and spinning of the rambouillet. Flick carding is a process I’ve always loved, so it is nothing for me to spend an entire evening doing just that. But honestly, this is spinning up quickly as well, and I am so enjoying the spinning. I’ve got my bumblebee partly filled and then started some more on my texas jean tibetan. I am really eager to see how this comes out in the end, should be a fun end product!


Itty Bitty Mittens

Bug requested, and was quite adamant about it, mittens for Julie because her hands are cold. Thankfully, there was a free pattern online and it knit up pretty quickly. I think these would make cute tree ornaments too!

I’ve decided that since my month of finishing is done, I can now work on tiny projects. So, this is the week of small projects. Now that the mittens are done, I’ve got about 3 pairs of fingerless doll mitts to knit, as well as a stuffed owl or two. That should keep me occupied if combined with my spinning projects!


Rasta Man Wingspan

I am really starting to think there is a problem with the amounts of yarn I am allowing for when I make the wingspan. All I can say is that I keep running out! I will have to remember to err on the side of caution if I ever make this again. I didn’t even have enough handspun for 7 wedges, let alone the 8 necessary. So, I picked up some complimentary koigu kersti to finish it up. I knit my 8th wedge, looked at the ball of yarn, thought maybe I could get a 9th wedge, started on that, realized that I could not, ripped back, and then finished up the shawl. I thought I would be hyper critical and really hate the solid yarn, but I actually don’t think it looks all that bad. I do think I am going to put the wingspan pattern away for awhile. It is a great pattern for handspun, but only if I don’t run out. I’ve got a couple other patterns on the back burner that I can use for handspun from here on out.



So, I have developed a Loop! fiber addiction, and with loop fiber purchases, there are loop fiber samples. When I got the Bumblebee SST, I immediately pulled out some loop samples to try out the spindle with. I quickly finished the singles, and plyed them up on my wheel. I got 55 yards of laceweight 2 ply in a very lovely color.



I loved the dark burgundy/brown with tones of brighter burgundy and green. Very very nice! It also made me fall in love with my Bumblebee so that was a win as well. I am putting this little skein away for a later date, I’ve got 2 more samples to play with at some point.

In other news, Month of Finishing has drawn to a close. I started it a week early, so I am ending it a week early. I finished my Rasta Man Wingspan, and that is blocking on my floor. I’ve been far too interested in spinning and the thought of new projects to consider another week of one knitting project only. It would drive me nuts and it would make me spin all the more in avoidance.

Wonderful Days!

Seems I’ve been having a string of wonderful days. We celebrated Christmas on Sunday. It was wonderful to spend it with Jeremy and to skype in my parents. It was wonderful to have some spinning time and finish spinning my katatomic colorway. It was wonderful to make funnel cakes and hang out and watch a movie. It was wonderful to spend some quiet time with my man after Bug went to bed.


Yesterday was wonderful, in its quietness in the morning, coffee with Bug, grocery store run, and playing with Christmas gifts. Then we had a last minute invite to visit some friends for dinner. While there, I started navajo plying, finishing up once I got home. It is wonderful to have 244 yards of worsted weight yarn. Yarn that I’d say may be the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever created!



I hope every one of my readers, friends and family, are having a string of wonderful days themselves!

Cram Pot Dyeing part 2

Well, I’ve been a bit obsessive about cram pot dyeing. I decided to get the leicester longwool into the dye pot and use some primary colors on it. It worked out well, I did get some colors that blended together. However, I may have been a bit impatient that morning and I think I rushed the job, not allowing the entire pot to really get hot. So, the colors are a lot lighter than they could be I suspect. I think I’ll try this combo again during the next shipment, but allowing the colors to really get nice and bright.


Since my Rambouillet experiment was something I was not too sure about, I decided that would be the best one to try to spin first. On Saturday evening I ended up staying awake quite late watching a movie and flick carding. I got a bunch done. This particular fleece is very weak and neppy, so there is a ton of waste. I’ll be interested to see just how much I end up with once the yarn is complete. However, I do think the yarn will be light, bouncy, and interesting in its color.



There’s bumblebee in action again! I love that SST so much.


So, you know how I love my trindles? And I love support spinning on my tibetan? Well, trindle has a supported spindle. Since I didn’t love my spanish peacock russian, I sold that and decided to get a supported trindle. (SST) It showed up on my snow day, I noticed it around the time I went out to shovel the very bottom of the driveway. So once I came in, I pulled out some loop samples and gave it a whirl. The shaft is carbon fiber, so it makes a bit of a noise in my pottery bowl, but it spins like a dream! I have faceted bumblebee agate beads for it, they are a heavy mediumweight so it just spins forabsolutelyever.

Now, at least one of my friends will laugh at this next bit, as I am not in the habit of naming my spindles, but this one is totally getting the name “bumblebee.” Partly because of the beads and partly because it amuses me and makes me think of college.


Cram Pot Dyeing

I’ve been itching to try some cram pot dyeing for months now. When I saw the locks from my fiber club, I decided that those would be awesome to cram pot dye with, but I assumed I’d need more and waited until the second shipment. After finishing the icord on the vest during my snow day yesterday, I had no desire to knit anymore. So, I soaked the locks for my cram pot dyeing experiment. I needn’t have worried about the amount of wool, as my first pot was completely full with just the rambouillet. I wasn’t in love with the rambouillet in the first place, so I really just went nuts with the colors, and indeed did end up with some crazy stuff. However, I do believe that when flicking and then spinning each lock the colors will come together and look pretty interesting.


Then, once that was done, I decided to dye the border leicester. This time I decided to just do beiges and pastel like colors, with a hint of yellow for pop. And these turned out far better than I expected! I really like this combination, and am very eager to spin it up. And better yet? I’ve got my leicester longwool soaking in anticipation of doing another cram pot experiment.

It has been nice to have my dyes out for a bit. It happens so rarely!




It took 4 months, but I finally completed my meadowlark vest. I knit it out of alpaca I had purchased at my first stitches midwest. I had purchased 2 skeins actually, and it took less than a skein to make the vest, so I have quite a bit left over. Even when I first started knitting I was drawn to the undyed natural colors, and I think the early purchase of this alpaca reflects that.

The vest itself, while I love how the top drapes, I could have used some additional fabric in the front. I think the back is just fine as is. The good thing about this is that technically I could have made it with extra in the front, it wouldn’t have messed up the pattern to do different sizes in the front and in the back. Not that I’ll be trying to change that any time soon. (or ever.) But the point is, it could be done easily.

I hated knitting all the icord, but love the resulting product. Another one done for 2012!



Jewel Tone Affection

Here’s another wonderful thing about no cast on December. It forces me to work on something I gave up completely. My color affection shawl has actually seen some action! The last time you may have seen it I had just started the second section and had two out of twelve stripes done in that section. I brought it to work, and I’ve been adding stripes daily. Despite the fact that I’ve deemed it a boring knit, I do love the end result and I adore the yarn. So it would make me quite happy to actually see this one complete. What I can’t figure out though is why something like wingspan, which is just garter stitch, is an amazingly fun knit, while color affection, which is just garter stitch, feels like the most boring knit I’ve ever tried.


My Meadowlark

I’ve put in a good amount of time on my meadowlark vest this weekend. Barring any mobius armholes, I should be done with the body of it tonight. This would be in between prepping food for 2 potlucks this week, and attending the first of them. However, what that leaves me with is icord. Tons and tons of icord. Icord around the armholes, and icord all the way around the collar of the vest. I am going to guess that the icord alone will take me a week! No, I am probably kidding. In all honesty, this vow to not cast on new projects for this month has truly helped me focus on what I have on the needles and feel like I am really accomplishing something. I really like that feeling, even though I sometimes don’t like working on a project I am getting bored with. It is quite the payoff to have the projects actually complete.


This Weekend in Spinning

Over the weekend, despite working hard on some knitting and some non crafting related things, such as Christmas shopping and painting one of Bug’s gifts, I was able to get a bit of spindle spinning done. My hands have been a bit sore, and I am sad to realize that part of that seems to have to do with spinning on my tibetan. Once I realized this, I spun a bit on my trindle as well to counteract the hand pain.

The tibetan holds the dyeabolical BFL/firestar. I’ve now spun a spindle full, wound that off, and am about 2/3 done with my second spindle full. I love the colors of this and intend to navajo ply it to preserve the color. Though the plying will be done on the wheel.

My disco trindle holds the ol’ fauxlag project I started months ago. This one mostly resides at Jeremy’s house so it really doesn’t see all that much action. I’ve got 2 balls finished and am working on a third. Because this is a thicker yarn, when I do concentrate on it, it goes quickly. However, there are often other projects that seem far more interesting to me and I tend to let this one languish a bit. The fiber is merino.


Nose Pickin’ Gloves

A long time ago Sarah started on a scarf for Jeremy. She put in a lot of time on it, and intended to use up all the yarn she had of that particular color. But, that color seemed to be reproducing itself at an alarming rate. When the scarf was done, she had enough for a hat, so she knit him a hat. Once that was done, she was entirely sick of that yarn in that color. And what happens during a stash toss? Another skein of that yarn, in that color, appears. So I tell her that I’d be happy to make a pair of matching gloves for him. I set out looking for a pattern that would work with the yarn, and came across the Cigar pattern on knitty. Since Jeremy tends to use his hands quite a bit, these seemed the right choice. The pattern sizes for small, medium, and large. I figured that since his hands dwarf mine, I should go with large. I was not wrong, as they fit well when I tried them on him before I began knitting the fingers. These got put aside for a long time, as I wanted to have him around so I could annoy him about them. Or rather, try them on him regularly to make sure the fit would be right the first time. I really needn’t have, he sized perfectly for the large size the entire time.

As far as the pattern is concerned, it is a good little pattern. However, I don’t believe it asks me to pick up enough stitches when knitting the fingers, and that leaves some rather large holes to sew up once the gloves are done. If I had to make them again, I’d probably pick up two extra stitches at the start of each finger and then decrease them on the next round. I really dislike sewing.


Fleece Club

So, in my spindle spinning board I came across a very interesting club. It is a fleece of the month club, you sign up and receive, for 3 months, 4 oz. washed locks of fleece which you can then process yourself for spinning. This idea thrilled me, as it is a chance for me to try some breeds I would probably never purchase an entire fleece for. So I signed up, for both the longwool and the merino clubs. It also comes with a card that gives a bunch of info about the breed and the characteristics of the wool, with even a space to add a sample once it is spun.

My first shipment, to be honest, didn’t thrill me overly much, but I knew I could experiment with what I had anyhow. My second shipment however thrilled me to pieces. And so I figured I’d better get the two shipments photographed and posted, before the third shipment shows up in January.


This picture is the two merino breeds I received. At the top is Rambouillet wool, and at the bottom Saxon. The Saxon is absolutely the most beautiful wonderful soft, bouncy wool I’ve ever felt. In fact, I’d say you could just pick up a lock and spin it with no prep whatsoever. Amazing stuff!


And then there are the longwools. At the top, Border Leicester, and at the bottom Leicester Longwool. I’ve never spun longwool before, nor have I prepped it. I am rather excited about these.

To top it off, they all come in a cute little burlap sack.


I love the burlap sacks, and feel certain I can use them in the future!

The Saxon I’ll leave as is, but the rest are destined for the dye pot. I’ve been itching to try “cram pot” dyeing for months now and these seem the perfect fibers for such a thing. Then, my plan is to spin them with minimal prep. Maybe just a comb through with a flick carder to loosen the fibers before spinning. My last shipment will include Romney, and I believe delaine merino.

Julie’s Wardrobe Part “Christmas”

All knitting for Miss Julie has been done. I made a lovely little skirt using scraps I had around the house. Inevitably it takes more yarn than I expect when I knit for her, so I ran out of yarn, twice, and had to add colors. I think the end result is pleasing anyhow. For the top, this was a bit more of a challenge. I originally knit the top in the same beige I cast off the skirt with. However, I did not have enough and under the cabled band I had to switch colors to the purple. I didn’t like the way it looked, so I ended up starting over with the purple. At that point I also modified the pattern heavily, as I had no interest in sewing velcro on, and wanted to use buttons I already had in stash instead. In the end, the purple doesn’t look too bad with the green, one of my favorite color combinations in any case. And I’ll try to ignore the ridiculousness of using malabrigo silky merino for a doll top when I don’t even have a garment of such luxuriousness, but it was what I had in stash that matched the yarn weight I needed.


Absolutely Horrifying

I am about to show you some pictures of me in my PJs. No no, I am about to show you why I should give up knitting forever.

My meadowlark vest has some interesting construction. First I knit the back. Then I picked up stitches along the side of the back, under the arm, cast on stitches for the front, and knit while incorporating every other row of the back under the arm. This means I don’t have any seaming, which is a good thing. Then, I knit and knit on the left front, eventually joining the front to the top of the back in the same manner as under the arms, incorporating stitches every other row. This means I avoid shoulder seams too, which is great. Except for one thing:


I completely failed to hold the piece up to make sure it was straight when I joined the shoulder and knit the back and front together. What I ended up with was a very nice looking arm hole with a mobius. Rookie mistake! This one felt as big as knitting the wrong sleeve for a sweater, but in actuality it was a much quicker fix.

I had to rip out 26 rows, which doesn’t seem like all that much in the grand scheme of things, and reknit them. While it was tempting to leave the project in a hibernation stage, I didn’t. I need those needles for Jeremy’s second glove, so I had to fix it right away.



Thankfully now I have an armhole that is actually useful on a vest that will be, eventually, wearable. And I am feeling less like I need to give up knitting forever.


My Neal Brand tibetan is the absolute most fun to spin with. I am happy, perfectly happy, to use the relaxing nature of support spindling to occupy my evenings at this point. It feels like not much knitting is getting done at all lately. And yet, I am rather ok with that simply because I love the tibetan spindle. Since I finished spinning the singles for the BFL Silk on Saturday, the closest wool I had on hand was a braid of BFL Firestar from Dyeabolical called katatomic. Ok, I’ll admit it, she introduced this colorway and I snatched it up so fast you’d have missed it if you blinked.

And let’s just take a moment to talk about dyeabolical’s fiber. Here’s the thing. This woman just manages to hit all my color love points every time. Her colors are deep and saturated and wonderful. On top of that, the fiber is prepared so well that drafting it is a joy. I tend to go on and on about her fiber, raving about it often, to the point where my knitting friends say “Really Shells, why DO you buy from anyone else?” And at this point? I think this is a valid question. I really shouldn’t. It isn’t a matter of not thinking out of the box, it isn’t a matter of wanting to stick with what I know, it is a matter of being consistently happy with what I’ve purchased. And that makes sense to me.

Anyhow, point being, I started my braid of katatomic, and it is awesome, and I can’t put the tibetan down, and I am going for a bit of a thicker single, and because it is her fiber, that is going well for me too, and I plan to navajo ply it to preserve the amazing color, and I want to look at it and spin on it in every spare moment while simultaneously wanting it to be done so I can see the end product, and…and…. *big sigh* well I think you get the picture. I’d say this one is going rather well.


Solidly in the red

Last week I posted where I was on the vintage vespa loop bump I have on my wheel right now. I was still spinning through the green section but I could see the red. That evening I managed to make it to the red, and then on Sunday I covered the bobbin in red. Sadly, I can’t quite yet see the white. However, I am looking forward to some spinning time tonight in order to get just a bit closer.


A finishing

I picked up a braid of The Dyeing Arts BFL/Silk in the colorway Viola at our local spinners and weavers guild show. That same day my tibetan spindle came in. Basically, any wool close at hand will do when I’ve got a new spindle, and that braid was the closest. It spun beautifully on the tibetan. When I spin supported, I am basically doing a long draw, so the yarn is thick and thin, and over all light and airy. I love the fact that the supported spindle always makes me spin a lofty single. I enjoyed spinning on the tibetan so immensely, but I couldn’t get a handle on plying that way. So, I plyed on the wheel. I concentrated on plying a bit tighter than I usually do, which seems to have worked beautifully. Now I have 500 yards of a 2 ply laceweight to sock weight.


Another finished object

Mom’s Christmas slippers are complete. They’ve also gone in for their first felting. She’ll have to felt them to fit her feet when she gets them, but at least I got them started. I must say, I adore the color on these!



Since I haven’t done much felting, I am constantly amazed at how these tend to conform to the shape of the wearer’s feet. They don’t really look like much until they’ve been on feet awhile.

I am hoping to get some spindle spinning complete this weekend. I think I can manage it. But I doubt I’ll manage another knitted finished object.

Itty Bitty Knitty Stockings

Originally I wanted to knit three of them this year, then six. That turned into eight. And now I think I am done. I’d love to know how many I’ve actually knit over the years. The numbers must be quite large now. I didn’t track it, sadly. I know I knit far fewer of them now than I used to though, as our tree is chock full of them. I still adhere to the rule, knit one for the tree and another for gifts. This year, 4 out of the 8 are going on our tree.


Vintage Vespa

I’m workin’ on it, ok?

I started this loop batt just before thanksgiving. I spun on it most of thanksgiving afternoon, working hard to get myself out of the gray and into the green. I did. I’ve spun on it off and on since. At Renegade Knitters, I felt like I’d spun forever on the green, but I still wasn’t done before the game of epic horror Saturday night. I spun through that too, and was only beginning to see a bit of red as I left that night.

Thankfully, tonight I have a little wheel time and maybe I’ll get to see just a bit more red. I was really at a loss as to what to do with this colorway. It isn’t one I would have chosen on my own, but it was part of a club. Clubs are fantastic for getting me to think out of the box, and while I contemplated lace shawls and tree skirts or christmas decorations, I ended up absolutely floored over someone else’s project.

I saw someone weave with this colorway. It was AMAZING. It wasn’t christmasey at all. The colors blended into something else completely and the scarf was just amazing. And now I can’t stop thinking about the loom which resides under my bed and how I could totally make something similar if I’d just get myself in gear and LEARN.


Yesterday’s Lace

Since yesterday was a quiet day for me, I had decided I’d concentrate on the Meadowlark Vest, working the gentle, easy lace pattern without distraction. This one has an interesting construction, I can only assume in an attempt to avoid seaming. I can live with that! The idea is that I had to pick up every other row down the side of the vest, then cast on the stitches for one of the fronts. I then incorporate the picked up stitches as if I were adding edging to a shawl. It is working out pretty well! I snapped a shot while it was still light out, but I am actually now about 2 rows from being completely done with incorporating the side stitches.



You can see both the picked up stitches as well as the left front on this picture.

I actually did a bit less on this than I expected. I got distracted with support spindle spinning and did a ton of that yesterday. A little on the russian spindle and then I moved to the tibetan. And again I keep wondering if I should just get ride of the russian and stick to the tibetan, I love it so much more!

Additional Weekend Progress

On Thursday evening I finished a glove. I was waiting for a time where I could bug the heck out of Jeremy. Or rather, try the glove on him to make sure it fit. Thursday was that kind of day. With one glove done, I think I’ll set the project aside for a bit.


Mostly because I’ve got a nice quiet day ahead of me, and I am prepared to work on a larger project today. The larger project is the meadowlark vest, and it uses the same size needles as the gloves. The gloves can hang out in my projects for more mindless knitting time, today is a day for lace.

Sawtelle Cardigan

OK, this one’s a little wild. I had this knitpicks chroma on hand. I got it on sale, and it is perfectly Buglike colors. I tried to knit it into another sweater but it didn’t go so well. Once I saw the sawtelle pattern, I figured that would work, plus no purl stitches, so it should knit up quickly. What I failed to take into consideration was that the cardigan is knit in one piece up to the armpits and then knit separately. Well, that just messes majorly with the color lines. The thing is, it is bright and colorful and I feel certain that Bug will like it even if I find it a little nauseating. I’ll get a modeled picture after Christmas, for now it needs to be blocked and then wrapped.

I actually like the pattern itself enough to make one for me. I have some turquoise scottish wool yarn in an aran weight that hasn’t yet spoken to me in terms that got gauge. I suspect I might be able to get gauge on this one. Perhaps a project for the new year?