Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 knitting plans/goals

Once upon a time, I decided to essentially quit making New Year's resolutions, and make plans instead.  This applies to the various aspects of my life ... personal, professional and crafty.  So I thought I'd write down my current knitting and spinning plans for the coming year.

  • Knit 12 sweaters
  • Start the Sheep Heid tam on 1/1/12
  • Spin all of the Gomez fiber (the wool which is English Leicester x Border Leicester is from a sheep named Gomez)
  • Knit the Gomez yarn into a sweater -- not sure which one yet
  • Finish that "Block O" blanket for my new niece or nephew, who's due to arrive at the end of July.
Quite an ambitious list, actually.  12 sweaters will be a challenge in itself, for sure.  But first, it's time to pull my husband's sweater out of "time out" and see what needs to be done to fix the gauge problem.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12 sweaters redux

I've updated my queue of possibilities for the 12 sweaters in 2012 challenge.  This updated queue (Rav link!) includes at least one sweater for every letter of the alphabet.  Come join us!  Sweaters of any size count (adult, children, babies, even pets!) and so do works in progress.  The idea is to *finish* 12 sweaters.  If they're already started, then all the better!  Some of the group members are challenging themselves to start AND finish 12 sweaters in the year.

As of now I'm still working on my husband's pullover, and recently had a bright idea.  The sweater is knitted in the round from the bottom hem up to the armholes, and then the front and back are knitted flat and seamed at the shoulders.  The sleeves are to be knitted up from the cuff to the armholes, then attached to the body of the sweater.  My idea is ... why not pick up the stitches around the armholes then knit, in the round, down to the cuffs?  Since this appears to be a regular drop-shoulder sweater, I think it should work fine, and allow me to finish my beloved's sweater faster :-)

But first, I'm lengthening the sleeves -- just a bit -- on  my Shalom cardigan.   I wore it a couple of times last week and felt the sleeves were just a wee bit too short for my taste.  I noticed the first time that I wore it that I had dropped a stitch on the cuff  of the right sleeve (which I secured with a stitch marker so it didn't unravel), so since I had to fix that anyway, it made sense to lengthen the sleeves too.  So last night I took apart the cuff and ripped back to where I started the twisted rib and knitted 1.5" in stockinette.  Now to finish up the twisted rib and garter stitch edging on the cuff, try it on, and then do the other sleeve.  Easy peasy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweater update

Thought maybe it's time to post an update on my husband's sweater.  The sweater is knitted in the round from the bottom hem up to the armholes, and at that point I decided I should steam the sweater nice and flat in order to get a more accurate measurement:

Look at how that colorwork just POPS!  My current dilemma is whether to go down a needle size because now that I'm knitting the front and back separately, I am noticing that my gauge is different.  I'm not sure yet how to fix the problem aside from changing needle size and then, how far down do I go?  Not sure that going from 9 down to 8 will work but as soon as I finish my Shalom Cardigan, I'll sit down with this one and decide what to do.  The pattern looks pretty straightforward from here on out but I do worry about the size of the armholes and the sleeves... some folks have said the sleeves are too big for the armholes.  I think in a couple of weeks (during winter break) I'll be able to put some serious time into this sweater and finish it before I start on the insane 12 sweaters in 2012 challenge (see the post below for more on that).

Since Shalom only needs one sleeve (which is easy to do!) I will concentrate on finishing that SOON so that I can focus on this sweater for hubs.  One of my knitting goals -- which I'll post later this month -- involves focusing on one project at a time, and eventually getting down to only 3 projects in progress at once.  One knitting project, one crochet project and one spinning project.  Of course. that also means I need to finish or "frog" many items that are in danger of never getting finished.  But that's a post for another day.  For now, good night!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

2012 is the year of the sweater


I currently have 2 sweaters on my needles.  One for my husband which I wrote about in my last post (and have made significant progress on) and one for myself (which needs a left sleeve before I can call it done).  While stalking Ravelry recently -- in my constant quest for new patterns to use up some of my kind of ridiculous stash -- I got hip to a group called 12 Sweaters in 2012.  The group is exactly what it sounds like -- a group of people who are challenging themselves to knit 12 sweaters next year.  You don't have to be a math wiz to figure out that that is 1 sweater per month.  Insanity.  In-san-i-ty.  And guess what else?  I have enthusiastically joined the group.  Not only that, I've made a queue of all of the yarn and patterns that I've paired up over the past year which have just been sitting around waiting to be knitted up.

True story.  I couldn't make this up.  

Currently my list has 17 potential sweaters and vests on it.  Have a look for yourself but keep in mind that most of the links below are Ravelry links.  They're listed in alphabetical order.

I know this sounds ridiculous and over-ambitious, but there are methods to my madness, really.  First of all, even if I don't get all 12 sweaters finished, I will have more hand-knit sweaters in my wardrobe than I do now, which is only two!  Secondly, These will stretch my knitting skills because most of them require me to learn new skills, such as steeking, colorwork in an entire garment, installing zippers, clever construction, etc. Some, like February Lady, are just grown-up sizes of the same sweaters that I've knitted for babies and therefore won't require me to learn anything new but will be satisfying nonetheless. Most of the patterns I've chosen use worsted or aran weight yarn, with the exception of the Corrie Fair Isle Vest, which is made with fingering weight.  Skinny yarn AND all-over colorwork ... yay!  

If my husband's sweater isn't finished by January then it will be my first finished sweater of the year but aside from that 2012 will also be the year of selfish knitting.  No doubt that a gift item or two might also get finished during the year.  After all I'm knitting the never-ending socks for my brother and a cable-intense scarf for one of my BFFs.  

There may also be some other knitting-related "resolutions" on my list for next year but this 12 sweaters thing is really the biggest and most ambitious.  

And since I haven't knitted a stitch today, maybe I'll step away from the computer and knit for a while before I zonk out for the night.

Ciao for now!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spartan pullover

IMAG0027.jpg, a photo by mzundercover on Flickr.

Here's a pic of my progress on the sweater. Not too bad eh? I already wish I'd done the hem as a folded hem, rather than garter stitch so that I could knit his initials on the inside! I'll be sure to do that on the next one, though.

Maybe I can get a bit more done on it tomorrow. But now it is way past my bed time. G'night!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's time ...

... to finally knit my husband a sweater.  I don't know if you all have heard of the sweater curse, which basically says a knitter shouldn't knit a sweater for his/her beloved until they are married, else  the loved one will break off the relationship shortly afterwards or before the sweater is even completed.  Not sure which would be worse!

Several months ago, I chose this pattern to knit for him. When I went to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet festival in February I bought the yarn to knit it.  I got Louet Riverstone yarn  in a lovely mossy green (to bring out his eyes!) and a pewter gray for the contrasting colorwork.  Did I bother with a swatch?  Nooooo!  I just cast on and started knitting. I'm making the smallest size, with a chest measurement of 41-3/4" -- his chest measures somewhere between 38-39 (he's a tall, slim fellow).  I asked him whether I should keep knitting as-is, or try to make it smaller.  He said to keep going, so keep going I shall.   I just started the colorwork (don't really have enough to warrant a photo yet), and so far all is well.  This will be my first sweater done in pieces, though the body is knitted in the round up to the arm holes.

So ... I'm going to earn some knitting time.  There are some household chores that need to get done, so off I go to do them and then sit down and knit on hubby's sweater for a while.  Perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, don'tcha think?


Black & yellow!

I'm getting ready to cheer my STEELERS to victory this season!  I made my husband a hat in the same colors ... he loves it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Tour de Fleece update

I have been a spinning machine for the past 2 days.  Tour de Fleece started yesterday ... here's what I've done so far:

TdF 070211 - Day 1

Fiber: Tussah silk/merino blend  from Ashland Bay (I think it was called "Blues")
Purchased from: SlimChicken on Etsy
Spun on: Majacraft Suzie Pro
I had spun this fiber up into singles before the Tour began, so Day 1 was spent plying.  I washed it today to set the twist, etc and it is drying.

TdF Day 2 - 070311

Fiber: Corriedale top from Hello Yarn Fiber Club (Feb 2010)
Colorway: Seasick
Purchased from: someone on Ravelry
Spun on: Majacraft Suzie Pro
Yardage: to be determined after plying
I finished spinning this yarn into singles and will find time to ply later this week, perhaps.  I think it will be very cool once it's plied.

TdF Day 2 - 070311
I dug this pretty fiber out of my stash and HAD to start spinning it.  It looks like this so far:
TdF Day 2 - 070311

Fiber: Optim from Chameleon Colorworks  Dyeworks & Fiber Studio, 4oz.
Purchased from: French Creek Fiber Arts, September 2009
Colorway: Flaming Sunrise
Spun on: Majacraft Suzie Pro
It is so much fun to spin.  Optim is merino wool that has been stretched and then set.  The resulting fiber is finer than merino and looks like silk, but has the properties of wool. How cool is that?  I need to get some more of this stuff!

That's what I've been up to.  Now time for a little R&R (reading and relaxing) before bed so I can rest up for another spinning session tomorrow.  G'night!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

There are bunnies in there, I swear!

I might have just bought about 32 oz of this pretty Shetland Humbug fiber from International Fleeces.

32 oz of fiber should be enough to make a sweater's worth of yarn, depending, of course, on how it's spun.   For some reason, I'm obsessing about having at least enough spinning fiber for a sweater.  I know that I have enough fiber to spin yarn for 3 sweaters and that's just the fiber that I have bought in the past month.  There's also the smaller amounts that I've picked up here and there over the years.  And since I got my beautiful spinning wheel, the fiber stash has multiplied like crazy. Good thing that spinning and knitting are pretty much my "main" hobbies, else I'd be in big trouble (Oh but there is that pesky genealogy project that I just started  ...).  One of my goals for 2012 is to spin yarn for a sweater AND knit a sweater from that yarn.  Right now I have 3 fibers to choose from:  this pretty Shetland Humbug; a beautiful Romney/mohair blend and some Lincoln that I got for such a great price I just couldn't leave it there.  I sometimes think that I'm enjoying spinning a wee bit more than knitting, but that has to be just a phase since my lovely wheel is so new.  Right?  that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

All that to say that I must find time to knit and spin more, and figure out how to do it all faster!  One of my knitting friends is so prolific.  Every time I see her (which is a couple times a week) she's got a project finished and another one on the needles.   I always ask her, "How do you DO that?"  She says, "I'm retired!"  Man, I need to retire so that I can have more time for hobbies and other things I love.

But since I can't do that for at least another 3 or so decades, I better get moving and head to work.  

Bye for now!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tour de Fleece fiber

I've just about decided which fibers to spin/ply for Tour de Fleece 2011:

* I have 3 different colors of roving that I dyed a couple months ago. One is a hot pink, one is a neon green and the other is a bluish purple. I think I will try to spin/ply them all together and hopefully get something kind of Noro-esque. (EDITED TO ADD:  I think this fiber is out!  I started spinning a bit of it, just to see how it would turn out.  It appears that the fiber felted slightly during dyeing and is a little hard to work with.  I will keep working on it until TdFleece  -- as "training" -- but it will not be part of the competition.) (EDITED AGAIN TO ADD PHOTO)

* Last month at the Great Lakes Fiber Show I took a spinning class with Carol McFadden (she has an Etsy shop called feistywomandesigns). She made some batts in shades of blue that she calls "Eboni's Blues" (yep, after me!) I bought 8 oz of that and can't wait to spin it up. See the photo. Pretty, huh? (N.B.: This is Carol's photo, not mine)

* I was able to get my hands on some Corriedale from Hello Yarn fiber club from Feb 2010. The colorway is called Seasick ... Blues, browns and golden yellows.

* And finally, a superwash merino/bamboo blend from Fiber Optic Yarns in the colorway Besame Mucho.

I'm not sure what else might end up in my TdF queue, but I want to get started NOW!!!!!



Friday, June 24, 2011

It's time for Tour de Fleece!!!

It's nearly time for the Tour de France, which means it's also nearly time for the Tour de Fleece!  This is an annual event where spinners (of yarn, that is) spin during each day of the Tour de France.  I've joined up with a few different teams already and am in the process of setting this year's TdFleece goals:

  1. Spin (and ply?) about 3oz of Corriedale wool top in the colorway "Seasick" from Hello Yarn fiber club (from February 2010)
  2. Spin (and ply?) about 4 oz of Merino in the colorway "Winning Colors" from Tuscan Grove 
  3. Spin (and ply?) about 4 oz of merino/bamboo from Fiber Optic Yarns
My "training" in the next several days will be to finish the last 2 oz of a very nice Tussah silk/merino blend that will eventually become a nice hand-knitted something as a gift for my boyfriend's mother.  Maybe a cowl, depending on yardage once it's all plied up. Here's a pic of what it looks like:

Tussah/merino singles 061811

But now, I'm going to get out of the house with my honey for a few mins, then settle in for some spinning and Dr. Who once we get home.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Play ball!

I'm at the Cleveland Indians game! There's an event called Stitch n Pitch where knitters and crocheters spend an evening at the baseball game. It's loads of fun and I have attended for the past couple of years.  Tonight the first place Indians are playing the Minnesota Twins. Let's hope the Tribe pulls out a win. So far so good ... we just got a quick 3 outs. Line 'em up and knock 'em down, boys!

Oberlin colors!

I promise to post real soon about my brand new spinning wheel (Majacraft Suzie Pro) but for now I'll just show you the small sample of maroon and gold merino that I spun up last night, er, early this morning. Maroon and gold are Oberlin's school colors. This superwash merino is from Tuscan Grove and is called Winning Colors. The colors are separate and I wanted rises how they'd look spun separately and then plied together. Whaddya think? Unfortunately I didn't spin up enough to knit a sample but I think it'll look cool as socks, perhaps. What would you knit with it?

I'm writing this big as I eat breakfast, and now it's time to nice into high gear and get ready for work. Have a great Monday!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Block "O" Square pattern

I designed this pattern about 3.5 years ago and am just now writing it up to make it available to the world!  It is a pattern for afghan squares (though I suppose you could really use it for much more than that ... pillows, patch pockets, table runners, etc.).  As a "corn-fed Ohio girl" -- born and raised in the Buckeye State -- I wanted to use my love of yarn to create something to celebrate the mighty OSU sports teams.  GO BUCKS!

For mine, I used a sport weight yarn and a size G crochet hook to make pieces that are about 6.5" square.  Use whatever yarn and needle size you want to adjust the size of your squares.

The pattern (in Adobe .pdf format) includes both a chart and written directions, and will be emailed directly to you within 24 hours!

Price: $3 USD

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Stitches used: Chain stitch, single crochet, puff stitch

Pattern Format: Adobe .pdf file

... this has been a QuietStorm production, dahling ...