Sunday, September 28, 2014

Summer of '69 (but actually 2014)

I bet if you look at the breakdown of when I post new knitting blogs, they are never in summer and always in fall/winter. You probably think it's because I don't knit in the summer, but you are an idiot. 

Of course I knit in the summer! I just do so much other stuff that it's impossible for me to tell you about it. When push comes to shove, I'm a sucker for summer. It's never too hot or too sunny for me. 

This summer has been especially busy because I've been playing a bunch of shows in my band Tea Tsunami. Oh did I forget to mention I'm a drummer?

(cut to me basking in the glory of being awesome)

But enough excuses, let's get to what I did do this summer.



Knit lace.

Knit Cables.

Saw sheep.

Fell deeply in love with sheep.



Bought Fiber.

Hung out with my bestie!

Knit a baby sweater.
And these are just the yarn-y highlights!

Probably my favorite knitting/yarn related thing was going to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival with my best friend of all time: Bekky. 

One of the most obnoxious things about being a knitting is hearing the comparison to being a grandma. I understand where this comes from, but I happen to know quite a few people my age (aka young) who knit. However, at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival, I felt  young beyond my years.

Age ain't nothin but a thang though. Because Bekky and I spent a solid 3 hours walking around TWO warehouses of yarn and fiber and sheep and rabbits. We cooed, we swooned, we fondled (the yarn you pervert).

And I ended up with some beautiful beautiful things.

Don't worry faithful blog readers, it's fall so I'll be able to keep you posed about what they become.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Classy bitches spin thin

 I recently splurged and bought myself a pound of Cheviot wool from Naturally I rationalized it as, "I could easily make a profit and this will be the roving that starts my indie spinning/dying business." How am I doing with that?

Oh, you know. Just non-existent. But I did see the inner desire of what this bag wants to be.

I don't know how I came up with this vision, but all of a sudden I wanted to make this huge fluffy bag into lace-weight yarn. Well, that may not be entirely true. Initially I was going to see if this wanted to be a 2-ply or a single. Once I started spinning it, I saw that it had a lovely halo effect and knew this had to be a single lace-weight yarn. (let it be known that I don't know if my spinning buzz words like 'halo' and 'single' are being used correctly. I feel painfully n00bish about all this. Also about my internet slang use of the word n00b. Because I do the internet wrong.)

Apparently the spinning gods do NOT understand that if I want this to be something, it should be easy. I have had a hell of a time making this small quantity. Literally I've down this process (sit down, spin for 5 minutes, have fledgling yarn break, give up, and walk away) happen 8 times.
Today I finally decided to do my usual classy blocking of the yarn (sexy heels that have literally never been worn but have gotten their monies worth by making pretty yarn for me) and decide to see how this fucking obnoxious makes me want to die lovely yarn looks while it's knit.

Because one thing I HAVE been doing lately is reading about spinning. Apparently the good way to do spinning is to spin something, knit a swatch, and..... adjust?

I'm not really sure about the last part. But I did get that I should be swatching.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I'm pretty sure knitters don't understand how much yarn they have at one time, let alone how many unfinished objects they have (UFOs). Yarn is pretty light and compact so it's easy to think that you don't really have enough and you can afford to buy just one more skein.

Me personally, I haven't bought much yarn in the past year. I have been on a bit of a fiber binge (1 lb of cotton, 1 lb of wool, assorted alpaca), but I've rationalized it by saying that I need it because I don't have as much fiber as I do yarn.

This past weekend I decided to organize my yarn stash.

Because.... Maybe it was a little out of control. But once I started going through my UFOs (unfinished objects for those slow readers out there), I found some things that I remembered the love and remembered the hurt.
Now these two projects above don't look too terrible. But let's microanalyze them. The hat looks quite lovely. It has a beautiful pattern and decent colors... The only problem is that it literally is too big for any normal human head. That entire hat either needs to find a Giant to wear it, or needs to be ripped out so I can reuse the yarn for something that could actually work. Next to it is an almost pair of socks. There is nothing obviously wrong about this project. The yarn is beautiful, the socks fit, the stitch pattern is interesting. The main problem? I ran out of yarn. That means I either have to spend twenty dollars to finish 1/4 of a sock, or rip out most of the first sock to finish the second. There is a third option. I could use some of my assorted leftover sock yarn to construct a not even remotely matching second sock. Which is not really an option.

Then I came across this red and pink mitten. It was a pain to knit. The yarn is much too thick for the needle size I used; which made knitting these like fitting a ham through a pin-needle (a feat I often attempt but never succeed).

Ergo. I have one mitten without a thumb.

Then you come across yarn that has decided to fraternize (yarn sex) with surrounding yarn (slutty yarn). This requires hours of untangling which would lead most mortals to insanity.

Luckily I'm not normal.

I love untangling yarn.

(spoiler alert. I'm a weirdo)
This is a lovely sock that stopped. Maybe I just needed some winding up.

These just need some finishing. And a baby.

This was a test knit that bored me to tears.

Although it's beautiful. and 3/4 of the way finished.

What do I end with? Knowledge that I should NOT buy more yarn until I make at least 30 more things.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

In which I compare crack to socks and insure a Bronco victory.

I would talk about what I've been spinning lately, but I'm getting rather frustrated with it so I'm putting it on time out.

The thing with knitting is that sometimes you have to jump start yourself. I mean yes, I love knitting more than many things in my life and it brings me great joy and blah blah blah. But it can be a chore.

Do you know what you do when you fall out of love with something? You remind yourself what you like about it.


Nick has hairy man legs.
I adore color. This particularly beautiful skein of sock yarn includes a lot of my favorite colors: lime green, dark blue, red... 

There were two things in that sentence that gave me back my knitting mojo. Color and sock yarn. 

Socks are crack to knitters. They are portable, relatively quick, easy and interesting, and beautiful. That is why less than a week after starting this exquisite form of crack.... I have:

The socks that will cause the Broncos to win the Superbowl. You're welcome Colorado.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rocking at Experiments.

Readers. There has been something heavy weighing on my mind. It is time for me to unload upon you all.

Are you sitting?

I have no idea what I'm doing when I spin.

I mean to be fair, I've only been using my wheel for 3 months and have minimal drop spindle experience; but sometimes I feel like only experts can blog about things. I know I should just acknowledge that this is the internet and writing something automatically makes you an expert (did I mention I'm a tad sarcastic). Alas, that is not me.

I'm on the edge of two blog posts right now. Here is the first where I can tell you that I may not know what the hell I'm doing, but sometimes that works! Remember that red yarn in the last post?

This is how I spun it.

 First, I opened up this small batch of roving I got at Chicago's Yarn Con. (hey person reading this. You NEED to go to this next year. They have some of the coolest stuff ever there. So let's make a promise right here right now. You will continue reading my blog, and I will let you know when I go next year. Yay)

 I don't remember specifically what sorts of fibers are in here. I think it's a hodgepodge of different breeds and fibers; there was some cashmere, wool, possibly alpaca, and synthetic bits.

This was my main roving. (see, I'm sure there is terminology for this sort of thing. I'm sure this is called the superior draft or numero uno fiberino or something equally imposing). Now I'm not talking smack on knit picks, but this wool is not the softest. On the plus side, it goes gradually from color to color. The first is red.

I love red, but I also love a challenge. That's why I decided this would be the perfect canvas for my experiment. I could have just done the boring thing and spun a multicolored yarn, but I wanted to do something crazy that I didn't know how to do!

From the mess of white/gold/orange fibers, I drew lengths and put them on my leg. From my brief experience with spinning, I've come to realize the best way to spin yarn is when all the fibers line up. So I teased and stroked these locks until they all stood at attention.

It should also be said that the red roving was also pre-drafted (which basically means you pull the fibers apart before you start to spin. In theory it makes it consistent so you just have to spin it and not try to pull it apart to make it even while you're spinning.)

What I did then was combine the two. When I say combine, I literally mean I held the red and the white/orange together and let the spin do the rest.

What is the end product? Surprisingly, I produced success.

Not only was this yarn pretty well balanced, but the white/orange strands mesh pretty well with the red.

Overall, I would say that this rocked my cabana.
Roving in the shape of a heart.