Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

My Mom's Best Christmas Gift

I talked to my mom Tuesday and she had already opened the packages I sent her for Christmas. While she was talking to me she said....'Oh, and I have done THREE ROWS already on the afghan knitting you sent me. I knew I could do it!!'

I was dancing the happy dance to hear this.

See, my mom is legally blind. She has macular degeneration in both eyes. She never had vision in one eye from birth, when it was hit was MD it was no big deal, but when it hit her good eye eight years ago, it took all of her sight. Now she functions on her own at home with no problem, she knows where things are, and has some limited sight. She can not drive, or read, but can watch TV or do the daily chores of life.

When I was visiting her last Nov, I was sitting and knitting and she was sitting beside me, watching. At one point she said, I think I could still do that. I tucked that thought away, and later at home the crazy idea hatched to make that her Christmas present, some easy knitting to do. So I went to the store, and got nine big skeins of the softest, and loveliest yarn I could find. I got large circulars, and cast on what most books were recommending for an knitted afghan. I knit three rows to get her started, took each skein of yarn and dug out the starting end, and then wrapped it all up in Christmas paper (a major task!) and mailed it to her.

and held my breath. Either she was going to love it, or think that was some really crazy gift from her daughter.

So now mom can knit without really looking at the stitches. Oh she will never do any major project, but I think having this to do during her lonely evenings at home, has opened up to her the possibility that she CAN do more than just sit and listen to the TV. I am hoping that she finds knitting as much enjoyment as I have.

Christmas is for giving

I gave more hand made gifts this year, than I ever have in the past. I think that could be a good judge of the fact that my life may be just in the place I want it to be, with enough time for creating things.

One thing that helped this achievement was the fact that I now routinely knit on any long trips we make. For alot of years I thought if I could not read while riding in a car, I probably could not knit. I have of course found out that this is not true, and now when traveling I am usually knitting on a sock or some small project.

The gifting started at the party with coworkers. The name I drew was a lady I just knew would love a hand spun/knit scarf of alpaca. And I was right. She was so appreciative of the gift, and I think there will be much wishful thinking next year that I get someone else's name. Opps, not a good precident to start, but I appreciate the sentiments behind it.

The rest of the knitting was for family. I did those gigantic boot slippers for both hubby and daughter, those were in the pictures below.

And I will post a picture of the scarf I did for my daughter. It is knitted not from handspun but from the Manos yarn made from recycled silk sari warps. It really turned out different, and it was interesting to knit with. The colors change constantly, and have the brilliance only found in silk. The yarn has an interesting hand to it too, substantial, and yet very thrown together feel. I used the drop stitch for the scarf. I cast on 28 stitches at first and knit 8 rows garter (don't copy this down yet, for this is not what I finally used) That many stitches was too wide, and that wide of a band of garter stitch did this weird flaring out on the ends, compared to the drop stitch later. So I basically frogged one mornings worth of knitting to start over.


Cast on 19 stitches

K three rows

Drop stitich row: k1, *wrap yarn around needle three times (as if knitting), k2* repeat between stars until end of row.

Next row, knit only the knitted stitches. All of the wraps just get dropped off the needle. They will look sloppy, but once you have done the row, what you do is tug from below those stitches to straighten everything out.

K three rows, do drop stitch and knit row dropping the wraps, and repeat this until out of yarn or scarf is length you want. Finish by knitting three rows of garter.

I bought two skeins of yarn, but had about half a skein left. I plan to do some playing with this yarn. The whole time I was knitting with it, my mind kept trying to fathom how to make it into a solid fabric, to show off the colors. However, just knitting tightly does not make a very nice fabric. The dropped stitch really does do better to display all that color play. And trying to make a solid fabric out of such a fuzzy yarn is really rather futile. However, I have thought about carrying one strand of the manos and one two ply strand of homespun silk, and making me a skinny scarf. That's what my mind finally settled on for making fabric from this yarn.

I have not heard yet from my mom on her socks, I will talk to her tonight and see how she liked those. That was the last of my hand knitted presents for this year.

Now I am working on my best friends birthday socks, which unfortunately will be late, since her BD falls between Christmas and New Years. However they are fun to knit, I have alot of time right now, and I bet they will not be too late.


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Fiber Stash Goddess

was good to me this last weekend. I didn't knit fast enough and ran out of the handspun alpaca yarn before the scarf was long enough. I considered the idea of using another yarn, and adding to both ends with that. I had an idea of taking a white yarn as a block around a heart design in the original color. Time was too short though to be designing on the fly, and in a last ditch effort, I went through my roving stash, and wonders of wonders, found about four more ounces of the same color.

I probably would not have found it, if I had not just recently sorted the fibers into types. It was in a larger bag, like it had been part of the original pound of roving. I truly doubted by luck to find the exact color (since alpacas come in a LARGE variety of colors) I kept laying that roving, and the yarn I spun from it against the scarf, daring it to be any bit different. It wasn't.

I split that roving in half, spun each half on a bobbin, and plied it. It turned out to be a bit bigger in WPI than the original yarn, probably because I was speed spinning (IE not paying that much attention, just making yarn) I took the plied yarn and washed it and set it in front of a fan to dry Sunday night. I only needed to do four more repeats, the eight row border, and then fringe. I made over 100 yards of 2 ply and used about 80 of those yards.

This all happened of course because I really did not have a clue how much yarn I would need for the scarf. I found the pattern, cast on what looked like enough repeats for a scarf width, and started knitting with the yarn I had. It was close, but not enough.

I prefer to create with a little less pressure in the future, but for once, the stash was there when I needed it.


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Pictures are now available that I linked in the last post. I had not actually checked out if the cut and paste would work, and when I tried them tonight, I discovered it wanted me to be signed in to yahoo. After quit a few attempts, I finally found the settings on the photos, that would make them public. So if you gave up in disgust, try again, and go look at the scarf I am knitting and all the socks I have done.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

All I have to offer right now are two pictures of my recent Christmas knitting.


One picture is a collection of socks that I did, two pairs of the large house slipper boots, and a regular lacy pair in the middle. All of these were made with commercial yarn, the boots are Lion Brand Homespun Chunky and the socks are from an acrylic that I found in the sale bin at Michaels. The color is a very pale green.

The second picture is the alpaca scarf that I am knitting for a co-worker. It is unblocked right now, which I like, if I do block it, I don't think I will stretch it very much. It looks like many small cables from a distance, it is only when you look at the scarf up close, that you see the lacy look. This is handspun yarn, 2 ply in a natural color (dark tan).

I have not had any time to spin lately. Once these are wrapped up, I still have another quick scarf to do.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Where's my List???

I can not function without my endless lists this time of the year.

I have been shopping online again, almost every day. The mailperson is going to be busy. I got one purchase yesterday, 34 skeins (all the same lot #!) of a wool blend, natural color yarn. I do not have a skein band with me to list the brand, but I got a great deal, only a $1. per skein. I will have to swatch and see if it will work, but I really want to make a cabled sweater for hubby, and he OK'd the natural color. When he saw the box and asked what I bought, I said a sweater, he didn't even see the box when you replied, oh, one to knit? LOL he knows me well. I am surprised he didn't ask what breed of sheep it was (assuming it was fleece and not yarn)

Speaking of fleece, that has been the other recent purchase that I am still waiting to arrive. I am in the rare breed exchange, and said I would do CVM. I have it in roving already, and had asked the same supplier if they could get me some raw or washed fleece. It took them about six weeks to say they could not provide any, and refund my money. So I posted to several yahoogroups requesting CVM fleece and got three replies. Now there is a almost 2 lbs of fleece coming soon.

Meanwhile, my spinning project has been to spin the CVM roving. I have been spinning it on my Roberta and am very impressed with the yarn. I got a nice sock yarn in a lovely natural gray color. I do not know why more people have not tried this fiber, it feels as soft as merino to my hand (I have not looked up the average micron count on it) and does not have the poof that frustrates me when I spin merino. Oh and it dyes really nice. I did two 4 oz balls in Jacquard dyes last dye day, one after the other in the same bath, so the second is lighter. I used teal, and that color over the natural gray is really lovely (I WILL have pictures soon, soon, soon) I spun all of the darker ball, and plan to ply that with the lighter ball for yarn for the sock cuffs.

Other fiber news is knitting Christmas gifts. My list of 'almost dones' includes, house sock boots for hubby, half of second sock to go, socks for my mom, heel turned working on the gusset of the second sock, alpaca scarf, started and flying fast, it is my favorite knitting right now.

I had intended the CVM socks to be done too, but that is not going to happen. They are for a good friend and she will be happy to get them whenever I get them done. Meanwhile, I have other goodies for her holiday, she is soooo easy to buy for.

I almost hate for the holidays to come and go, I will feel 'listless' BRAHAHAHAHAHHHHaaaaa!