A FO and reclaimed yarns

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No WIPs but I did finish the last of the three Jacob Shawls.  From getting the fleece to finishing this shawl took me about 2 years.  All natural colors, no dye.  Simple garter stitch shawls.  This Jacob wool is a bit coarse. I wouldn’t wear it against my skin.  The yarn is rustic and uneven but the shawls are still quite pretty.  They’d look good as decor in a rustic country style.

That’s been mostly the only thing I’ve been knitting on for the last few weeks.  I’ve been plying a lot of yarn from sweaters and I thought I’d show that off.

I had two Merino sweaters in very similar shades of plum.  I plied 2 strands from each sweater together to make a 4 ply fingering weight.  I got about 1400 yards.  I paid less than $7 total for the sweaters.

I had some leftovers from one of the plum sweaters so I plied two strands together to make about 500 yards of laceweight.

The last one is 4 strands from a silk sweater plied to make 960 yards of light fingeringweight.  Silk is tricky to ply.  Unlike wool sweaters I plied directly from the sweater pieces.  Unraveling cobweb weight silk into cakes is just asking for massive tangles.  This sweater cost $0.49.

 

Last is a dyeing experiment.  I was actually trying to dye yarn that only had a small amount of wool – the rest was undyeable fibers.  It failed completely leaving me with a pot of dye.  So I grabbed this yarn.  It’s sportweight (not plied) from a 62% nylon 26% angora 11% lambswool sweater (nylon dyes just like it’s a protein fiber).  I dumped it into the pot dry and it was also too much yarn for the amount of dye/water/space in the pot.  It instantly turned a pale pink (the dye in the pot is supposed to be a deep raspberry.)  That just wasn’t acceptable so I spent the next few hours experimenting.

I mixed up dye in different shades of magenta and blue and started dumping it in the pot, directly onto the fiber, stirring it around to get different areas.  After awhile I was noticing bits that were still pale pink so I started pulling the skeins out of the pot, pouring dye directly on the light spots and then dumping the skeins back into the pot.  Then it seemed like the colors were too contrasty so I pulled the skeins out of the pot and added a lot of the deep raspberry color to the pot and dumped the skins back in.  I wanted to blend the colors together more and not have them contrast with each other so hard.

I ran out of time for the day and stopped for the day.  I wasn’t sure I was done yet but I knew I could always experiment more another day.  As the yarn dried I could see more and more colors appearing.  It’s a very layered look, with colors blending and spotting and just being wild.  I think I really like it and I may not dye it anymore.  Then again I might.  I need to look at it for awhile before I make a final decision.

 

Random Ramblings

I don’t have any WIPs to show this week.  I’m rather disenchanted with all of my WIPs as well as not feeling inspired to cast on anything.  I did work on a few things here and there but not enough progress on any one things to make it worth showing.

Instead of knitting I’ve been catching up on plying some unraveled sweaters.  I had two bins of partially plyed and another bin of two sweaters I wanted to ply together (they were very similar in color and fiber content.)  They need washing before they are ready for measuring, caking and then use.  Not that I have anything planned for any of them.  I found them all during my recent organizing spree and just wanted to get them out of the way.  I’d prefer to keep it to one unraveling/plying project at a time.  And I’ve got enough sweaters that aren’t yet unraveled to keep my busy for quite some time

I’ve also been taking advantage of my library, locally, as well as the extended local and the statewide inter-library loans.  I will have had nearly 50 knitting/spinning/dyeing books pass through my hands by the time I’m done.  I’m making an Amazon wishlist of books I want to purchase.  I’ve found that online reviews are great for seeing if I might be interested in a book, but I really need to get it in my hands to look through to really know if I want to own it.

I’m finding that I’m interested in stitch pattern books more so than knitting pattern books.  I think I’ve reached a point where I’d rather design my own patterns for a lot of things.  Or that I’ve already got too many patterns in my Ravelry queue and have no interest in adding more (this would mostly apply to complicated lace shawls.)  I’m not interested in knitting socks or sweaters and cowls and hats are fairly easy things to design myself.  I do want to branch out into shawl design at some point.  I seem to have a gap in my shawl pattern collection.  They’re either very simple or very complicated.  I don’t seem to find ones in the middle that interest me.  So I’ll have to design them myself.

I’ve set myself a schedule of sorts.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are fiber days.  That means that at some point in the day I work on fiber for as long as my body will allow.  After that it’s back to knitting or whatever I’m doing that day.  I’ve kept this schedule for about a month and so far I’ve finished combing the purple dyed Corriedale and gotten a start on the blue dyed Corriedale.  I’ve finished combing the Merino from Hawaii.  I’m still waiting for the weather to be warm enough to re-scour the rest of the Corriedale.

Well, I think that’s enough rambling for today.  Hopefully my knitting mojo returns and I’ll have WIP progress to show next week.

Knitting WIPs and more

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Vinorina – A bottom up shawl that is quite slow going.  A lot of stitches. It’s finally worth showing now that you can see leaves along the bottom edge.  It’s a little fiddly at times.  On a few rows the stitch markers have to move and then move back on the following row which always make me a little paranoid that I’ve messed something up.

Speaking of messing things up A Downton Wedding Shawl is in time out. I’m off by one stitch on the stitch count.  But I’ve gone over it and I can’t find the mistake.  It goes from 347 stitches to 262 stitches in one row and I’m a stitch short.  When I do the math to get to 347 and then the math to get back to 262, I come up with my stitch count and not the one in the pattern.  I’ll probably finish this section (when I’m not so annoyed at it) with my stitch count (as long as it keeps working) and just fudge an extra stitch before the next section.

These are my bookshelves.  One side is random books, spinning books and pattern books.  The other side is stitch pattern books (minus one Brioche book, which is in a project bag.)

The other pic is my project bag/spinning wheel corner  All of the projects I keep in my room are there plus all the extra bags.  The bags in use have tags so I know what’s inside without having to open them.  A few projects have two bags, one for the main project and one for the extra yarn.

Knitting WIPs

I forgot to post yesterday.  I was caught up in rearranging/reorganizing a part of my work room and totally forgot.  I’m sorry.

I used to be a full time polymer clay artist.  I mostly made beads but dabbled in just about everything else you can do with polymer clay.  I had a business selling my creations for over 10 years and amassed a huge amount of supplies.  Eventually I burned out.  Attempting to keep up with fads and online sale sites changing policies and fee structures just took all the fun out of it.  I abruptly stopped creating, leaving me with around 100 lbs of clay and supplies/tools.  I dabbled in many things for a few years before finding my love of knitting and fiber.  I packed up most of my clay and supplies but kept them in my room.  Much of it is sensitive to heat so must stay in climate controlled storage, meaning my storage cubbies were out of the question.

I still don’t want to part with my polymer clay supplies as they do come in handy now and then.  I made around 30 drop spindles with polymer clay whorls and one of these days I want to get around to making shawl pins/clasps.  But those bins and drawers of supplies were cutting into fiber storage space.  My husband offered up some space in his basement (I have the extra bedroom, he has most of the basement for his workspace.)  So I moved much of the supplies to the basement, only leaving that which might be useful for other crafts (paints, glitter, etc.)  Wow, that opened up a lot of room.

So then I had to rearrange my fiber stuff to fit in the newly opened up space.  I’m quite pleased so far.  I don’t think I’m quite done.  Some things may get moved around as I use them and find that a different spot works better.  Now I just need my husband to build my project bag corner and I’ll be set.

Anyway, before this organizing frenzy I did get knitting done.

Sing a Song of Sixpence – I just started the 3rd color.  There are six colors but 15 color changes.  This is handspun and hand dyed CVM.

A Downton Wedding Shawl – I’m sort of plodding along on this. I’m about 1/3 through section 3.

I’m also waiting for books to arrive from Amazon.  As well as books from inter-library loans from all over my state.  I’m trying to put together a wish list on Amazon so that when I do find myself with some extra cash I don’t have to spend days deciding what books to buy.  I also like to see books before I buy them.  Too often the reviews and descriptions don’t tell me enough to know if a book will be useful to me.

Once the Amazon books arrive I’ll have to show a pic of my bookshelf.  Interestingly about half are stitch pattern books, bought from thrift stores and rummage sales.  I never pass up a cheap stitch pattern book.

Violette the Corriedale Raw Fleece

Every year, when I’m sitting out in the yard for days pulling the locks from a dirty, unwashed fleece I think of this fleece as a reminder of why I’m out there.

I got this fleece for my second year of raw fleeces.  It was gorgeous.  Ever so soft and a lovely pale grey to cream and huge.  Quite a lot of VM and debris.  My shepherdess told me that Violette had been sick the previous winter and she wasn’t coated because of that.  That was fine.  I don’t mind dealing with VM.  I pulled it into chunks, stuffed them in mesh bags and scoured.  And that was my big mistake.

I didn’t have enough experience at the time to know that sickness often causes a break in the wool.  Or that pulling the locks lets a lot of the VM fall out.  Or that this fleece was extra heavy on the lanolin (honestly, if my shepherdess didn’t insist that this was Corriedale, I’d have thought it was Merino because it’s softer than the Merino fleece I got last year and had just as much lanolin).

After scouring, this fleece sat for while.  I had other fleeces I wanted to deal with first.  When I finally got back to it, I started pulling the locks.  That’s when I discovered the first problem.  The but ends are matted.  They can be pulled apart and then brushed out.  It’s hard to tell now but I’m pretty sure there was a break 1/4 inch from the butt end.  If I had pulled the locks before scouring I could have pulled off that 1/4 inch and saved myself tons of work now.

The next problem I noticed was that there was still a lot of lanolin.  So I needed to re-scour.  I decided to dye and scour at the same time, which worked but in the end I’ll have to overdye the spun yarn to even out the dye job.

This brings me to where I am now. 2 years later and I’m still dealing with this fleece.  I have to pull apart the butt ends and flick/brush them and usually the tip ends as well to get out VM.  I do this to each and every lock.  Then load up my hackle and comb.  It takes about 30 locks to load the hackle and 30-45 minutes to make one small nest.  Flicking/brushing is quite a strain on my body so I can only do 2-3 nests a day.  Which means that this fleece will take me a long time to process.  I still have about 1/3 to re-scour (I’m waiting until the weather warms so I can do it outside where I can do more at one time and I won’t dye it.)

If I’d just taken the time to pull the locks and scour properly (or had the knowledge that I should do this) I wouldn’t have to work so hard on it now.  Some may ask why I’m going to all this work.  The sheep grow more.  It’s because this fleece is so nice, once all the work is done.  I’ve spun a few skeins and it’s gorgeous yarn and so very soft.

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Pattern Release and Project Bags

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Belated pattern release announcement.  I released Her Immortal Scroll Cowl last Friday but forgot to announce it here.  It’s not turning out to be as popular as my first pattern but then I didn’t expect it to be.  It’s not nearly as striking.  What was I thinking when I bought that yarn?  It’s ugly.

No WIPs today.  I spent most of the week sewing and not knitting so there’s not enough progress on anything to bother showing.  Instead I’ll show the 23 bags I made.

Along with the ones I made previously, I’ve got about 30 project bags now.  The left picture is from my fabric stash, some scraps sewn together, some bigger pieces.  The red and black ones will have some tatting hand-sewn on, once I weave in the ends on the tatting.  The right picture, except for the purple one, are all from thrift store pillow cases.  The linings are white or cream, from thrift store sheets, except for a few on the left that have the lighter colored pillowcases as linings.  I did the 10 pillowcase bags all in one day, as a production line.

My husband is going to build storage for me in one corner of my room.  Probably just a bunch of hooks on boards but I’ll be able to hand multiple bags on one hook.  I’m waiting for that to happen and then I’ll move all my projects to bags instead of the bins they now live in.  Then the bins can be used for fiber storage.

Knitting WIP

Sorry for the lack of WIP post last week.  It was our birthday week (my husband and I share a birthday, 4 years apart) and he took the week off of work.  We were snowed in for the first day so did a Downton Abbey marathon.  That turned out to be so much fun that we did it the next day (and the roads were still messy anyway.)  The next two days we spent out shopping.  When I did have time to knit I worked on my cowl design which I couldn’t show you anyway.

I finished the cowl over the weekend and will be releasing the pattern tomorrow.  Since finishing the cowl I’ve been working on A Downton Abbey Wedding Shawl.

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I’m three rows from finishing the third section. Three (increasingly difficult) sections and a border to go.  Although to be honest, the eyelet rows are the most difficult for me.  It’s not that the stitches that are difficult but for some reason they make my hand hurt.  I have to take at least an hour break after finishing one to let my hand rest.

I’ve got the chart and yarn picked out for my next design but I’m taking a break from designing.  I don’t want to burn out on doing colorwork and I would like to make more progress on my other WIPs.

Speaking of other WIPs, I have made some progress on some of them but it’s either not enough to make it worth showing or so boring that I’m just waiting until it’s done. My Jacob wool garter shawl is one that’s boring.  I knit on it during Nascar races and I’m making good progress but really, who wants to see acres of garter stitch?

Oh and on one of those shopping days we stopped at a yarn store and I got some beautiful silk (Mawata) hankies for spinning.  I’ve never spun them before and I’m a little intimidated by them.  I’ve researched how to spin them and I understand it but I just haven’t gotten up the courage (or the time) to start spinning.

I may or may not get a WIP post up next week.  I want to sew more project bags and I’m hoping to start next week. There’s nothing wrong with having dozens of project bags is there?  I need to find a way to store the ones with projects in them.  I can’t leave them on the floor or the cats will get into them and I don’t have any spare horizontal surfaces to put them on.  Maybe I can put hooks in the ceiling.  Or I’ve got a bit of empty wall above my spinning wheel.  I’ll have to see if my husband can build me something there.