Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Scarf Pattern from Classic Elite

Classic Elite sends out a terrific email every week that includes a free pattern in one of their lovely yarns.  A while back, there was a terrific lace scarf that Alice Halbeisen designed using Silky Alpaca Lace

There's a link on the page to download the directions for the scarf.  It looks fabulous!  I'm trying to resist casting it on, since I AM trying to finish up a few other things.  It's pretty tough to resist!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Do you know about the Spinners' & Weavers' Housecleaning pages?  You should.  It's a terrific place to look for used equipment of all sorts - spinning wheels, looms, books, fleeces, carders...  and also to put up ads for your own equipment to sell, or if you're looking for something in particular.  There are even some fiber animals on there, under Grandpa's Barn... 

We're always passing along this gem of a site, and thought maybe we could share it with a few more folks this way. 

Happy looking! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Playing with double knitting

I love color (who doesn't?), and I love things with lots of colors and things going on.  I like to get lost in patterns and color.  Noodling around on Ravelry, I saw a bunch of interesting patterns that were double knit.  If you don't know what that is, it's basically making a double-faced item, with colors reversed on front & back.  Here's a Rainbow Scarf on Ravelry by Eline Sanders that is just gorgeous, knit using Kauni Effektgarn.  I wasn't ready to jump in on the whole scarf, so I took some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and Plymouth Boku that I had left over from a hat I knit, and decided to make a hot pad to learn the technique. 
 It's tough to photograph black, the reverse side shows up better!
I'm knitting it on big needles (10.5), and I'll throw it in the washer to full it once I'm finished.  If you look closely at the needle, you'll notice that every other stitch is black (except where the color changes).  Basically what you do is a knit 1, purl1 sequence, with the colors alternating.  All the knits show up on the "front" side, and all the purls show up on the other side - looking like stockinette on both sides.  This is the coolest thing!  It's VERY fun.  You slip the 1st two stitches on every row, then knit 1, move BOTH strands to the front, purl 1, move BOTH strands to the back, knit 1 and keep going.  Eline's instructions for the scarf explain it very nicely.  It's addictive.  Doesn't hurt that I adore the Boku with its sexy color changes.  Yum.  Just look at that color blending, mmm mmmm mmmm.  :)   Good eye candy.

Plus, depending on how you twist the 2 strands during the more solid portions, you actually get 2 layers of cloth.  Sort of a mind bender.  I haven't done it, but maybe this is like those magic mittens that people knit, one inside the other, knit at the same time - finish knitting and pull out the inside mitten!  A great magic trick.  Double knitting is great for scarves and hats - double warmth, and I can see making a reversible vest and oh, all sorts of things!  Imagine doing a hat or mittens with the inside layer as cashmere or angora for super soft, super warm. What decadence! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

There are socks!

I finished up a pair of Monkey Socks last week.  Love 'em!  Like a lot of things, these took a while.  I found a picture I took of the 1st sock taken before the heel turn.  The picture was taken in the fall of 2008.  Yowch.  How did that happen?  Somehow it took me 2 1/2 years to knit 1 sock and about a month to knit the 2nd.  Ah well.

 I tend not to do any patterning over the top of my foot - sometimes that's kind of uncomfortable, so I just skip it and do plain feet.  The patterning didn't show up all that much in this yarn anyway...  It's a fun knit though. 

And I started another pair of socks.  Here's hoping these don't take over 2 years!! 

 They're called Spring Forward, and they're from the Summer 2008 Knitty.  The yarn is a wonderful merino/cashmere/nylon blend that I dyed a while ago. (I'm sensing a theme here...  things just need to percolate for a while maybe). 
The cashmere makes this yarn so incredibly soft.  I'm really loving it so far!  Can't wait to see how it looks as it goes along.  Can't wait to get it on my feet. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's going to take a while

Back in December, I mentioned wanting to spin enough yarn for one of the sweaters in A Fine Fleece.  I have to preface this by saying I'm not a technical spinner, and spinning to a standard that isn't my normal mindless spinning just sounds way too hard.  I know, I know, I should be a better person and learn to do this and I would learn a lot in the process and improve my spinning and all that.  To do this properly I should spin up some samples and knit samples and do lots of math (shudder).  Yeah, that all sounds like a lot of work.  Plus I worry that I wouldn't have enough fiber if I have to dedicate who-knows-how-much-of-it to sampling, and then where would I be?  A bunch of samples and I couldn't make the sweater anyway.  So I decided that I would spin all the fiber as a 3-ply.  The yarns used in the book for the patterns I like were all worsted weight, and my usual 2-ply would be too fine.  I AM trying to spin a bit fatter, cause I'm not sure that a 3-ply would be the right weight either, but again - in a not-too-technical way.  Mostly I'm going to wing it and hope for the best.  This is supposed to be fun, so I'm just not going to go and try to make it hard!

The fiber I'm spinning is a blend of unknown wools with maybe a touch of mohair in it too - it's random stuff I dyed over the years and when I took it in for blending/carding, I meant to keep all the info about the fleeces with it, but it didn't happen.  It's really pretty though!  I love the tweedy look to it, with lots of different blues.

There are 4 of these little mini-bumps of fiber to spin up, totaling  close to 2 lbs I think.
And here is what it's looking like on the bobbin - it's spinning up with a bit of texture, as well as the mix of color.  I think I'm going to like the finished yarn!

 So far I've filled 2 bobbins and have maybe 1/2 of the 3rd one.  So, yeah, it's going to take a while.  I'm not even through the first bump, although it is one of the larger weight ones, if that's any consolation.  I wonder if I'll even get it all spun this year?  Let alone get started knitting...  This is definitely a long-term project.  I so admire those people that get lots of spinning & knitting done!! 

And then if this blue one isn't enough, I have a touch more of this purple blend.  It's not as tweedy looking, but it has some silk noil in it for interest, and it feels like a higher mohair content.  I adore mohair.  But it's REALLY going to be a while if this blue stuff doesn't work out, and I opt to go with the purple!!

Maybe I should consider this a 5-year plan.  So far so good!  :)