Thursday, December 18, 2008

Spinning Talk

I picked up some black Ashland Bay alpaca a while ago. There was a pound of it at a very good price. I now know why it was so cheap.

It is terrible! It is rough and really prickly. I tried spinning it this morning. Uuuuggghhh!

The original plan was to ply it with the heavenly dark chocolate brown fiber I got from northstaralpacas. It is luscious stuff and spins like a dream. So soft and cuddly. But I couldn't possibly let such beautiful alpaca touch the horrible Ashland Bay alpaca!

I have actually tried some merino/silk Ashland Bay fiber and liked it. I was so stunned to see the difference with what should have been a lovely fiber. I don't know what they did to it but YUCK! Don't know what I am going to do with a pound of this stuff other than maybe pillow stuffing. Though even that might be too itchy! *shakes head*

I am not sure what I will decide to ply with the alpaca now. I *could* spin it with 2 oz of either fawn or more of the dark chocolate color. The dark chocolate might be the best. But I really wanted some of the chocolate for me!! *grumblechuckle* I suspect the fawn is lighter than my friend would like ideally. Might order some more alpaca from northstaralpacas after the holidays. I can't really do it before then. But I won't see my friend until after the new year. So it could work out.

The wonderful thing is that my custom order from winderwoodfarm showed up today. So I have some delicious fiber to spin. In Lime & Violet speak, it is truly lickable fiber. *grin* It is cashmere/merino/silk. It feels like a cloud. *sigh* I can't wait to spin it.

I have never spun cashmere before. But my friend loves it in clothing and such. So I figured I can make something nice out of it. *crosses fingers*

I really love it and want to keep it for myself! *evil grin* But this is the time for giving, right? *chuckle* I am working on a purse for the same friend as her birthday was in Nov.. So the grey in the batt will compliment it really well I think.

I wish work weren't being a beast! I had better get back to it. Whee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Handspun Yarn

Last post for today.

I hadn't posted pics of this yarn yet. I spun it. I really do love it and have been fighting myself from casting it on into a project.

K N I T T I N G . . . *grin*

Cloverleaf Farms Merino Top - Spun

The pic really doesn't do this justice. The colors are really lovely. Black with burgundies, blue & other colors. Really hard to capture in the photo.

4 oz ~ 163.6 yards

Purchased at:
Rhinebeck 2008
Midnight Colorway

Super soft.

62” x 95 (might be more) ~ 163.6 yards
around 9-10 wpi (though is thinner in spots)
2 ply


I definitely want to get more of this. Yummy stuff!

Two More Christmas Knits

I am pretty happy. I have gotten though a lot of my holiday knitting. I have half a scrubbie (which are super quick). I might also knit another dish towel before Christmas, might do something else. There are two more larger projects for friends I will see after the holidays. And since I have two weeks off, I will have time to get those done. Woohoo!

Christmas Lizard Ridge Dish Towel

Christmas Lizard Ridge Dish Towel

Lizard Ridge Dishcloth by Laura Aylor

Made for:
Greg & Mary

18" x 8 1/2" prewash

US 7 / 4.5 mm Knitpicks Options

Lily Elite Cotton
~0.6 skeins = 110.4 yards in Fire red w/fuschia - dyed by me
~0.5 skeins = 92.0 yards in Forest Green - Dyed by me
Purchased at Smiley's Yarns in Woodhaven, New York

The designer, LAylor13, was kind enough to reply to my mail asking about how to create this lovely pattern in two colors.

Row 1 & 2 - contrast color
Row 3 & 4 - main color
Row 5 – 8 - contrast color
Row 9 & 10 - main color
Row 11 & 12 - contrast color

I thought this was going to be an easy project, but the short rows do require some attention to get them right. So I had to stop now and again when I was watching something involved on tv. I was watching a movie and had to rip out the entire round short rowing plus some previous rows to fix some errors. But I really love the way it looks so I think it was worth it.

I was a bit worried about running out of the green. It takes more of the contrast color than I expected. But I got to 18" prewashed. I know it will shrink some in the dyer, but not more than an inch or two based on the other yarns I have dyed.

The yarn was had dyed by me. It was basic white.

I hope the recipients like it. *crosses fingers* I really was debating what to make for them. Decided to do with Christmas colors.

Red & Green Scrubbie

Red & Green Scrubbie

Circular Scrubby by Gwen Bortner

Made for:

4" across

US 10 / 6.0 mm Knitpicks Options

Lily Elite Cotton
~0.1 skeins = 18 yards in Fire red w/fuschia - dyed by me
~0.1 skeins = 18 yards in Forest Green - Dyed by me
Purchased at Smiley's Yarns in Woodhaven, New York

I wanted larger size than the pattern provides. Cast on 30 sts, did 28 row/14 repeats. Got the perfect size. Lays flat unlike some earlier ones I did which puffed up.

Did 2 row in each color. Worked well and looks good. Super easy & quick pattern.

Giving scrubbie w/dish towel as Xmas presents.

Beaded Evening Bag/Purse

I am going a bit out of order. This is a work in progress. But I don't know if I will get a chance to finish all the posts today. And I know tomorrow will be a zoo. So if I can't post it today, I don't know when I will get to post these.

Beaded Evening Bag/Purse


Designed by me

Made for:

My Friend Karen


US 2 1/2 / 3.0 mm Knitpicks Options


Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver in Tuxedo Colorway

Around 1/2 skeins = 200 yards

Purchased at The Point in New York, New York

I wanted to make a beaded evening bag for a friend.

I didn’t want to do the super fine seed beads. I wanted something that was knit but with beads as an accent. I couldn’t find anything that I thought would work for my friend.

I came across the Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver yarn at my LYS. I knew it would be perfect as my friend loves black & silver.

I picked up some beads to work into the project. Then I sat down and started trying to chart something I thought would work. I have tweaked the pattern several times.

I will share it when I am through with it. I think it looks good and could work well for others.

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks in Handpainted Sock Blank

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks in Handpainted Sock Blank - Front

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks in Handpainted Sock Blank - Side

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks in Handpainted Sock Blank - Flat

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks with Handpainted Sock Blank - In Progress

Toe Up Feather & Fan Socks - In Progress

Cast On:
November 27 2008

December 7 2008

Toe Up Feather and Fan Socks by Wendy Johnson

Made for:
Me in Size 9

US 1 1/2 / 2.5 mm Knitpicks Options & Harmony - 2 socks on 2 circs.

Whimzy Pinzy Creations Feet Sheets by Whimzy Pinzy
Bamboo/Cotton/Elastic Panda Yarn
1 sock blank approximately 400 yards
Colorway - Burgundy, Black, etc. - Dyed by Me
Purchased at Whimzy Pinzy Etsy Shop

The 64 sts for the foot wasn’t large enough for my size 9 tootsies. I increased to 72 sts for the foot. Also, I worked the feather & fan pattern on the foot. I like having the pattern on my foot as well as the leg.

I wanted something to knit on Thanksgiving that wasn’t an Xmas present. And I have been missing having socks on my needles!

I love working with the sock blank. It is very easy and there is a lot less tangling.

I confess I am surprised by the way the yarn took the dye. It seems I didn’t get the dye into all of the loops that were knit. So there is a lot of heather effect to the yarn. It turned out as a happy accident. I like the way it looks.

I choose the feather & fan to highlight the striping in the yarn. I think it works pretty well. I am happy with the pairing of the yarn & pattern.

The Feet Sheet I have was dyed by me. Also, it is the bamboo/cotton/elastic one, not the superwash wool/nylon one. I have to say the yarn is pretty splitty. But I still enjoy the feel when it is knit. So I would probably buy it again. It was a bit shorter than I like though.

I liked that the repeat was super simple. I definitely like the way it came out.

Only wish they were a little longer. They came out kinda short for my tastes. But I ran out of yarn.

Cabled Cardigan for Littlest George

Cabled Cardigan for Littlest George

Cast On:

November 15 2008

Finished All but Buttons:

November 23 2008


December 3 2008


Seed Stitch Cardigan by Sarah Hoadley

Pattern used as a base, but modified a good deal

Made for:

Denny / George III


3 yrs


US 7 / 4.5 mm & US 8 / 5.0 mm Knitpick Options


Bernat Silky Soft

1.4 skeins = 385.0 yards (352.0m) in 135 - Navy


0.3 skeins = 82.5 yards (75.4m) in 00387 - Charcoal

Purchased at Smiley's Yarns sale in NJ

I took the pattern as a starting point but didn’t use the seed stitch pattern on the body. I have modified it a good deal to fit with what I wanted to create.

I did the edging in grey & the body in navy. I chose to do a rib at the cuffs and bottom edge with the size 7 needles. The body was done with the size 8s.

I wanted an even # of stitches on the back so I increased it by 1. I figured that wouldn’t make a difference in terms of size.

I decided on a claw cable with a reverse stockinette background highlight it. The cable is a very simple repeat with only 1 of the 8 rows requiring anything other than knit or purl for all the stitches in the row. Simple was important as I knew I would be knitting a lot of this while at my work conference. So it involved a lot of knitting under the table.

I hope it fits the recipient. It looks kinda small. But the measurements are the 3 year old ones. And I measured it. It is supposed to fit. The kid is only two, but I made the larger size just in case.

I like it. Just hope the kid actually gets to wear it.

I finally have a chance to take a breath at work. Not saying there isn't still tons to do, but I am getting help on the major project. Also, they are giving us the week after New Years to work on it. So I am not as frantic. Hooray!

So I am catching up on pics of FOs and WIPs. Whee.

I will probably do these a couple at a time from oldest to newest so I post these as I get a chance today. I am hoping to get all caught up today. But that may not happen as I have work that needs to get done. So here goes!

Christmas Tree Dish Towel

Generated by Flickr Album Maker

Cast On:

November 25 2008


November 29 2008

Made for:

Big George


US 7 / 4.5 mm


Lily Elite Cotton

Purchased at Smiley's Yarns sale in NJ


Prewash - 12" x 12" (including flap)

The tree chart was created with KnitPro by

I was going to use the towel top from the Christmas Lace Kitchen Hanging Hand Towel.

However, I tried that top and ripped it out. That top cuts in very sharply which was obscured the pattern on the towel. Because of the way it pulls in, it was making the top of the tree disappear in the folds.

So I improvised the decreases on the top to not obscure with the design on the towel portion. It is some basic decreases taking into account the seed stitch pattern I had been using. I think it worked out fairly well.

I am planning on posting the finished pattern on my blog when I get the time.

Basic pattern:

Cast on 58 sts.

4 rows of seed stitch in green

At each edge, do 4 sts in seed stitch.

RS Row:

K1, P1 2x

WS Row:

P1, K1 2x

For the center of the towel, follow the chart.


If you want less bobbins floating around, you can either eliminate the seed stitch edge or do it in the background color.

6 rows of seed stitch in green

Now, start decrease for the top of the towel.

RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK twice *K1, P1* repeat to last 8 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog, K1, P1 (54 stitches)

All WS Rows:

P1, K1 across

Next RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK four times *K1, P1* repeat to last 16 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog three times, K1, P1 (46 stitches)

Next RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK four times *K1, P1* repeat to last 16 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog three times, K1, P1 (38 stitches)

Next RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK three times *K1, P1* repeat to last 12 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog two times, K1, P1 (24 stitches)

Next RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK three times *K1, P1* repeat to last 12 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog two times, K1, P1 (18 stitches)

Next RS Row:

K1, P1, SSK twice *K1, P1* repeat to last 8 stitches, K2tog, P1, K1 K2tog, K1, P1 (14 stitches)

Tab for loop & buttonhole:

The length on this can vary to what you want. I like it to have a loop that is big enough to be buttoned over an oven door dowel or a drawer pull. So I made mine large enough to do that. But you can vary it to whatever size works for you.

Here is what I did for mine:

Repeat seed stitch for 3" then create buttonhole.

Button hole -

RS Row:

K1, P1 three times, bind off 2 sts, K1, P1 to end

WS Row:

P1, K1 three times, cast on two stitches, P1, K1 to end

I cast on using the knit on method. It is a little more rigid than some other cast on methods which I find useful for the button hole. I like them to stretch some but not too much.

Continue in seed stitch for 3/4".

RS Row:

SSK, *K1, P1* to last 2 sts, K2tog (12 sts)

WS Row:

K1, P1 across row

RS Row:

SSK, *P1, K1* to last 2 sts, K2tog (10 sts)

WS Row:

P1, K1 across row

Bind off stitches.

There can be a lot of variation with this. That is the beauty.

Other notes:

I find it very useful to place markers every 10 stitches when doing the chart. It makes it much easier to easily find your place in the pattern.

I used brown for the tree stem because I had some. It is easy enough to remove it from the chart or just do it in green.

I like the seed stitch for the tree. I find it gives a nice texture that echoes an evergreen. However, if you find it simpler, I am sure the tree would look good in stockinette as well.

I also thought about adding some embroidered ornaments or such. But I decided not to given the recipient. However, you could make it more fancy if you like.

The one confess I have to make is about the chart. I goofed when charting it. I selected the cross stitch grid, not the knitting one. Oops. So the tree is more squat than I intended. But it is still nice. I think when I do the pattern to post here, I will redo the chart as well. Though that might mean I never get around to posting it. So I might change my mind. *laugh*

Scallop Scarf in Three Bags Full Handspun

Generated by Flickr Album Maker

Cast On:

November 22 2008


November 25 2008


Scallop Scarf by Wendy Johnson

from Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn

(Picked up book on free shelf at work)

Made for:

Me Probably


62" x 6" (could have been 85" x 5" but reblocked to make shorter)


US 13 / 9.0 mm Knitpicks Options


My Handspun made with Three Bags Full Silk and Wool Roving in the Midnight Magic

0.88 skeins = 154.0 yards (140.8m)

Purchased at Rhinebeck 2008 (think from Carolina Homespun but not 100% certain)

Super simple pattern. Easy to memorize. And given the bulky yarn, it was very quick to knit.

I debated a lot what I wanted to do with this yarn. I really love how soft and squishy it is. It feels lovely with the silk and has a subtle sheen to it.

I wanted something that would highlight the yarn. But I couldn't do anything too complex because the yarn isn't very even. Also, I didn't think given the woolen spin on the yarn that anything with a lot of stitch definition would work well.

I decided this was simple yet pretty. I think it will come out well. I just hope it doesn't roll too much. But I think the garter edge will help it to stay flat.

I think it looks good. I was concern that there is enough to make a decent length scarf. I actually have about 1/2 an oz left.

I had to redo the blocking. The first time it was too long (85"). I didn't want that much length as this is a decorative scarf. So I reblocked it. It is now 62" which is a much better length for a decorative scarf. Though it doesn't show the pattern as much, it looks good.

Two for now. I will post more later I hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

But It's For a Friend...

So it doesn't count as my stash, right...?

I will spin & knit it into something for my friend Karen. But it does look so yummy I suspect I will have a hard time parting with it.

*sigh* Can't wait to get my hands on it. *grin*

The guy at winderwoodfarm was great about doing this custom for me. He dyed the fibers & blended them. Karen is a cashmere junkie so I am sure she will love it. If I can bear to let it go of course. I may just want to roll around on it. *chuckle*

My brillant hubby was looking at some silk I have on my spindle. He mentioned it was in colors that a friend of mine loves! It is brown with some greens & other colors. I also have some yummy dark brown alpaca I bought from northstaralpacas. So I am going to spin that fiber and use the silk as edging. Probably just doing a scarf for her.

I really do need to post some finished object pics. I am hoping that work is a lot less crazed this week. *crosses fingers* On the plus side, I have an extra week when I return to the office to finish the major project which I am involved with. So that is good news. I am hoping it won't be as many long nights for the coming week. I get the two weeks after off. So it should give me a good amount of time to spin & knit. *wiggles happily*

Time for bed! Though I think I am still on a fiber buzz. *grin*

Friday, December 12, 2008

Xmas Wish List

@(#*!! *sigh*

I had a post I started yesterday. My puter locked up on of the programs I was working in. So I needed to reboot. And apparently save now only saves it while the browser window is open. *grumblegrowl* Ah well

Things are a zoo at work. I really have been overworked and majorly stressed. So toying with things I want for my wish list is a nice momentary diversion. I need something to keep me relatively sane at the moment!

I know I am not getting this stuff. But hey, I figure it is always nice ideas for my hubby for our anniversary or my birthday. *grin* Though a lot of these are pie in the sky dreams! *grin*

Spinning Wheel

I know I know. I really thought that people with more than one wheel had more money than was reasonable. *laugh* But I can see the appeal. Also, the wonderful Nels at Babe created a new wheel design *after* I purchased mine. The lovely Production Double Treadle with Flyer Lead. The flyer lead offers more control than the one I have currently with is bobbin lead. However, there is a Flyer Lead Conversion Kit ....hmmmm. More reasonable indeed and doesn't require a new wheel.

Not that I don't want a new wheel. I have drooled over some of them. I love the hand carved ones by Golding. *sighs* But not in this lifetime unless someone gives me a lot of money. Though there are ones that are closer to reality. *grin* The Schacht Ladybug looks appealing. Though in reality I should *try* a wheel before buying anyone. But hey, if a nice spinning wheel appeared and needed a good home, I wouldn't discriminate. *grin*

Drum Carder

Yep. Still pie in the sky talk here. *grin* I would love to be able to blend my own fibers. And hey, I want to be able to do a whole batch at once of course. *laugh* Okay. So I am lazy as well as greedy.

Fiber Of Course

So many lovely fibers. Mmmmm... There are so many yummy ones on my etsy wishlist. And then there is my Loopy Ewe wishlist. *grin* Not to mention so many luscious ones available elsewhere. Always willing to try out new ones. *grin*

Yarn of Course

See above. There are also lots of other folks I want to try. I want to get some sock yarn from Cables and Lace. I adore their colorways. So yummy. Given you have seen my tastes in colors, you probably have an idea which ones I need. *grin* So many other vendors I want to try too. Too little time to list them all today. *grin*

Orifice Hook by RainyDaysWoolyDogs

If the Jack Skellington orifice hook is still available after Xmas, it is sooo mine! Though of course, that got me thinking about other things that I am betting Stephanie could do. *grin* I thought about one with Death from Sandman. But then I recalled what happened when I tried to call my wheel Morpheus and how it didn't like that at all. So perhaps getting Death too close to that might be a bad idea. *grin* Though the wheel's name is Door from Gaiman's Neverwinter. So they would be distance cousins in a way. *chuckle*

Knitpicks Harmony Needle Set

I know, I know. I have the Options. But don't certain yarns require something more grippy? *grin* Actually, I have started buy these in the sizes I use regularly.

Knitting Software

I didn't think of this one yesterday. So of course Knitpicks sent a lovely reminder today. Knitting software. I think I would most like the sweater one. Funny given I have yet to actually make an adult size sweater. *laugh* But it speaks to the geek in me. Though the sock & stitch ones also look very cool. In reality though, I would like to see a demo of these before I would spend the money. The charting one could just be a more expensice version of Knitpro which works really well. And I kinda wonder if the sock one would be all that useful.

Spinning & Knitting Books

Yes. I know I have a lot already. But I want more. *grin* I have read mixed reviews of Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning. Love or hate the guy, people seem to agree it is a good reference book. Of course, there are oodles of goodies on my Amazon wishlist.

Enough dreaming for now. I am sure I could add more. Time for me to get back to work! I would like to get home before 9 tonight (which has been my average time leaving the office this week. *sigh*)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Been A While

It has been a while since I have posted. It might be a while longer. *sigh*

Work has been crazed. I offered to help with a project that is much larger than I anticipated when I agreed to help. So that is sucking up most of my time. I even have pics that I took over a week ago that I just haven't had time to edit & post.

I have finished the Christmas tree dish towel & need to post that pattern. I also finished the cardigan for Littlest George for Xmas. Last night I finished some feather & fan socks out of a sock blank I dyed. I am *totally* hooked on sock blanks! They are so portable and no tangled up balls. It is great.

I have also designed a beaded evening bag/purse for my friend Karen. I will post that when I am done.

Problem is that I will super busy for the next couple weeks. Then I have two weeks off. So while that is great, I don't know how much time I will have to post.

BTW, I went to the Smiley yarn sale in Manhattan. I have had great luck with their sales in the past. I don't know what happened this year, but it was a zoo!!! I had to wait on line to get inside. Once inside, I saw that the line to pay snaked all the way around the hotel ballroom and back out the door. I would have been on line for at least an hour. I just couldn't do it. I looked around and saw a couple things I would have liked, but not enough to spend that kind of time on the line. *shakes head* I really don't get it as I have gone in past years and it was nowhere near that bad. I got too claustrophobic. And I am not usually one to feel that very often. But there were just too many people to deal with that long a wait. Ah well. I am *really* glad I hit the NJ sale and got the cotton yarn there.

Back to work. I would like to get out at a decent hour & I can't leave until 3 different projects are done.