Friday, December 26, 2008

Fiber Friday - Mourning Dove

Another holiday vacation spin complete. This one started out as eight ounces of Merino wool from the Yarn Wench. I ended us with a nice fat skein of 3-ply yarn that should be enough for a nice little project. I'm just not sure what it will be yet.

I took the fiber and split it into lengthwise strips and then weighed out three equal piles. I spun each pile onto a separate bobbin. I love the idea of the yardage I can get with eight ounces of fiber as opposed to four. But, you have to remember that every steps takes longer too.

Once I had the singles finished; I plied all three together. The plying is the part that always seems to take the longest to me. I have found that I'm most successful with 3-plies when I keep each single going into the ply at an even angle and rate.

In the end, I do think the final yarn was worth the extra time. I ended up with enough for a nice little project. I' not sure what the project will be yet, but until then I"m happy just looking at this skein.

My plies still aren't extremely even though. I think what I need to do is slow down and do everything a little more consistent. But I do have a hard time doing that. Each time I sit down at the wheel to spin, I seem to begin with intentions to try for a very consistent yarn. But not too far a long into to it, everything becomes a race to finish.

I'm not sure that I plan on doing anything about it for the most part. I enjoy what I'm doing and I'm ending up with some yarn I'm willing to use - that is what is important anyway.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber Content: Merino wool
Fiber Source: Yarn Wench
color: Mourning Dove
Yardage: 490 yards
Weight: 8 ounces
WPI: 12-14 wraps per inch
Notes: 3-ply yarn

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas
and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Sherman and Scarlett

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Swissy Sunday

Since our recent visits to Petsmart have been going well, we decided it was time to try the dog park again. So everyone got up early on Saturday and headed out to the park.

This time went much better than last time. Scarlett was still a little nervous around the other dogs and spent a lot of time hiding behind Brad and me. She's poke her head out to bark now and then and she did greet several dogs.

She did love the attention she got from all the dog owners and the kids that wanted to come and pet her. We did make the visit short and made sure everything ended on a positive note. But you can see in the last picture that Sherman still needed a nap on the way home.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fiber Friday - Holiday Tencel

This is definitely not the old shiny tinsel that got hung on the Christmas tree, but it is a 50/50 merino tencel blend. It also definitely has a sheen too. It was hard to get a picture that didn't shine so much. The yarn isn't quite as shiny in person as the pictures seem to show.

The tencel did make the fiber easy to draft and spin. Almost too easy really, it was very slippery and I missed the grab that 100% wool has when drafting. The tencel does give the finished yarn a nice drape and it is very smooth and silky.

I do think that this will make a nice scarf or something, although it will have to be small because I didn't get much yardage. I'm wondering is tencel is denser than wool and therefore less fiber for the same weight. Does anyone know? I'll have to go research that.

I didn't get a picture of the fiber before spinning this time. I was ready to spin something and this was sitting on the table. My fiber room is a huge mess and I have been avoiding going in there. I do have to have It all straight before the holidays since we are having company so I plan on tackling that this weekend.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber Content: 50% super wash merino / 50% tencel
Fiber Source:
Color: Tropical Holiday
Yardage: 250 yards
Weight: 4 ounces
WPI: 14 wraps per inch
Notes: 2-ply yarn;

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fiber Friday - Cabled Yarn

I finally got the remaining singles from my SAFF classes off my bobbins. I decided to use the singles and make a 4-ply cabled yarn.

I took the two bobbins of singles and plying those together for a 2-ply yarn. I used my ball winder to get the two ply off the bobbin. I weighed the ball on my digital kitchen scale and then wound half of that weight into a second ball. I then plied the two balls together.

The only trick to remember about making a cabled yarn is the direction you need to ply. If you spin the singles with Z twist (clockwise), the first time you ply will be using S twist (counter clockwise). When you are ready to ply again you go back to using Z twist.

The results yarn is rounder than the other 2 and 3 ply yarns I've spun. It is also a bit firmer. I think I'd like to try it out sometime with two different colored singles instead of a variegated ones. I imagine it would be easier to see how are four plies are twisted together.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Fiber Content: Peruvian Merino
Fiber Source: Black Bunny Fiber Club
Color: French Lavendar
Yardage: 176 yards
Notes: 4-ply cabled yarn

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I've recently started two new scarf projects. Both are part of the Traveling Scarves group on Ravelry. The idea is that a group of people get together and set up a few guidelines or a general theme and start knitting their own scarf. The scarf segment is then sent to the next person on the group list and then that person adds a segment to the scarf. This continues until everyone in the group has worked on the scarf and then the scarf is sent back to its original owner.

You can send additional instructions with your scarf and a notebook so everyone can include information about their individual addition to the scarf. It sounded like an interesting idea so I decided to try it out. When I explained the whole project to Brad - he said that I'd end up with some type of Frankenscarf with everyone using different yarns and techniques. I said that was really kind of the idea, but I kind of like the name so I'm keeping it.

The first group I joined has no special theme or yarn requirements. I did set a few of my own guidelines in the little journal I sent along with the scarf. I asked everyone to use a DK or sport weight yarn similar to what I used in my first segment. I also asked that blues, purples, greens, and browns be the only colors used and that the color shade coordinated with my starting segment.

The yarns I used for the first part of the scarf are Rowan Felted Tweed (green) and Manos Silk Blend. I used the Welting Fantastick pattern from one of the Barbara walker treasuries. I'm really please with how it turned out. It was a little hard to send it off for someone else to finish. But I didn't have enough yarn to knit an entire scarf. I do have enough saved to add a matching piece to the other end once the scarf is returned to me.

There are twelve people in this group so it will take quite a while to get my scarf back. There is about two weeks allotted to knit each segment so I think I'm looking at at least six months before I see the return of this scarf. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

The second group I join has more of a central theme. The idea for this one is to use up leftover sock yarn or other fingering weight yarn. There are 17 people in this group, so I'm not expecting to see my scarf back until late next year.

I started my segment of this scarf with 10 rows of seed stitch from a blackish skein of Socks That Rock. I'm going to send this skein along with my scarf and ask that everyone knit 10 rows of seed stitch after they add their colored segment.

My first segment is knit from some leftover Wollmeise sock yarn. I used another pattern from one of the Barbara Walker Treasuries, but this time opted to try out a cable pattern. This pattern is called the banjo pattern. It was one I hadn't seen and I liked the use of circles so thought I'd give it a try.

So both scarves are now in the mail. It is going to be hard to wait for them but I'll have a bunch of other scarves to see and work on in the meantime.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Swissy Sunday

Over all, the weekend and Thanksgiving were great. We had nice weather and got to be outside for for a lot of play. Sherman and Scarlett still enjoy playing keep away with any sticks that they find in the yard.

Although, Sherman isn't as inclined to play when it comes to bones. Scarlett usually loses hers to Sherman as soon as she walks away from it for any reason. And since he doesn't ever put them down - he just finishes them - and she never gets them back. Although you do have to admire her for trying.

We did a little yard clean up thins weekend because of all the leaves that were in the yard and Scarlett had a great time playing in the piles and making a grab for them as we'd toss them up for her.

We've been taking her places and have been having some minor successes so we decided to head out to the dog park for a little socializing. When we arrived things looked very promising - there weren't many dogs there (about 4-5) and we were familiar with about half of those there.

Just seconds after getting in the gate - a very aggressive dog grabbed Scarlett by the head and neck and started shaking her and we were certain she was going to be badly hurt. This attack was totally unprovoked. It was extremely scary and upsetting.

I have a hard time believing that a dog that aggressive hasn't acted this way before. And if the dog has done something like this - the owner had absolutely no business having the animal at an off-leash park. It took Brad and the dog's owner to get him to release Scarlett from his jaws.

Thankfully, Scarlett suffered only the most minor of physical damage. I think Brad actually bled the most. The owner was very upset and took his dog out of the park immediately. He did check on us after securing his dog. We tried to stay a little while but Scarlett was very nervous about the other dogs so after a short time and a little walking around the park we came home.

So I have no field trip pictures to share this time. I'm trying to get her into a training class - maybe I can get some photos there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scarf Season

It is finally scarf wearing season down here in North Carolina. It is one of my favorite projects to knit around this time of year. With all the holiday commitments and travel, scarves are small projects that can be carried around easily and just a little work can get you a lot closer to a finished project.

I like the idea of being able to sample a couple of interesting skeins of yarn and come away with a nice wearable project. Scarf yarn is one of my favorite travel souvenirs. Simple patterns or complex lace; handspun, leftover snippets, or pricey store bought yarn - a scarf can be anything you want.

I started off this scarf season by knitting a striped scarf in the style that Brooklyn Tweed highlighted on his blog. I've always loved stripes and I've wanted one of these scarves ever since I saw his. But this scarf isn't going to be mine. I think it looks best on Brad, so it will be his.

The scarf was easy and I finished it within a week of starting. If you plan on knitting one for yourself, if you haven't already, I only have one thing to point out. Watch you color combinations in the Silk Garden. The stripes can disappear if the colors match in both skeins at just the wrong time.

Project Info
Stitch Pattern: 1x1 ribbing
Yarn: Silk Garden by Noro; 4 skeins
Color: 249 & 211 (two skeins of each color)
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 7
Measurements: Length: 94"; Width 4"
Notes: I cast on 30 stitches. If you want the stripes to really show up pick colors that contrast as much as possible.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Swissy Sunday

We had a field trip to Petsmart over the weekend. Scarlett still refuses to go into the store under her own power. We get just outside the door and she stops and won't go a step further. You have to drag or carry her to get her in the store. She does the same thing once she is inside.

I carried her into the store. She now weighs 30 pounds and gets heavy after awhile. So, she had to go in a cart this time. We only had the cell phone camera so the photo isn't the best - but it is my favorite of the week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fiber Friday - Back from Class

I though I'd share some of my class experiences from my trip to SAFF last month. I signed up for three classes and I think overall it was a little too much for me. I was in class almost the entire time I was there, but on a bright note, it did keep me from spending too much money.

My first class was about fiber dying. The class was fun, I liked the instructor and I did learn some things. We talked about preparing fiber for the dyeing process, mixing dyes, applying and setting the dyes. I enjoyed dying the fiber - but I really am not please with my fist attempt. She warned us about putting too much dye onto the fiber and I took it to heart. I didn't use enough dye and ended up with a dull roving. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to produce enough hand painted fiber to sell - but I would like to try again at home. I think I might give it another try this spring when I can comfortably work outside.

My second class involved preparing fiber with sparkly stuff for spinning. I'm at complete loss on why I signed up for this class. I am not a sparkly person by nature at all, but I signed up anyway. We learned several different ways of incorporating the glitz into fiber from spinning, but I found the drum carder to be the most fun and the only thing I couldn't have tried by myself at home. Who would have thought that there are even different types of sparkle. The stuff in the photo is leftovers from my class. I did purchase a small bag of sparkle to see if I could come up with something more to my liking at home.

The last class I took was on novelty yarns. Another puzzler of a selection, but I think I was really aiming to try something new that I wasn't likely to try by myself. The first yarn we tried was a cabled yarn. Which in this example is basically two 2-ply yarns plied together. I like the was this one looks and will working on one soon. I'm thinking of trying for a cabled sock yarn. I'll be sure to post the process and results.

Next we tried a knotted yarn. It was interesting and for a novelty yarn I can see how it would make an interesting texture in a scarf or something. Mine was create by plying two of my homework singles together. I think there would have been a lot more contrast if I had used different colored singles or even different textured singles. I might try some more of this one too.

We tried soft twist singles and a marled yarn which just means putting two colors together while spinning. This picture shows our soft twist singles, the marled yarn and to top it all off we plied the whole shebang with thread. The poofy white parts are my soft twist singles and towards the bottom you can see the purple/white marl. It was interesting trying to spin two different fiber together in one thread.

We also tried a couple of types of boucle yarns, including a three pass boucle and a core spun boucle. I had a difficult time getting a nice consistent effect with these. It would take some practice.

We tried using beads too. I like the idea but found the process we used difficult to master. We strung the beads on thread and fed that into the fiber as we spun. I'd like to try making a beaded yarn again to see if I could finally master the task.

This class did challenge me to spin in different ways than I was comfortable with and I think that was my overall goal for the class. My hands had to work at the wheel in ways that they normally don't. I like that trying something new if fun.

When I first walked away from the classes I was disappointed, most likely because I didn't have very pretty results from the dying class and my spinning classes produced no usable yarns. But reflecting now, I do think that I got a lot out of some of the classes. I've decided that I need to be a little more selective in picking the classes I'm going to take.

I still have most of the singles I created for class and I need to do something with them so I can reclaim my bobbins for other spinning projects I want to do. If you see something you'd like more information on let me know. I'll practice the techniques and then try to create a detailed blog post with instructions. I know that I'll be doing the cabled yarn soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farewell My Spinning and Weaving Neighbors

I'm talking about our friends the orb weaving spiders. We had some chilly nights here in North Carolina recently; temperatures have dipped below freezing a few nights now. Before winter sets in theses spiders will spin their final web.

Orb spiders live only one season and leave an egg sac in their last web for the coming spring season. These four spiders are just part of the spider crew that has picked out front porch for their last web hurrah.

I haven't seen any spiders in the past few days, but I do have a couple egg sacs to watch. I'm hoping that they survive the winter and the non hibernating animal life. I'd like to see one of the sacs hatch with hundreds of baby spiders in the spring.

These spiders are oftern refered to as writing spiders becaise of the appearance of their webs. Charlotte, from Charlotte's Web, is an orb spider too. Next year I'll have to try taking some photos of the webs the orb spiders spin around our yard. They can be quite amazing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Three Year Scarf with a Hat to Match

I was going through my stash in search of yarn for a project and came across this project all bunched up in a bag. I had about 5-6 inches of the scarf knit and it was still on needles. I think this was the WIP that had been hanging around the longest.

I started this project back in 2005 when the pattern came out in the winter issue of Interweave Knits. I loved the scarf when I first saw it and set about finding the yarn that was used in the photo. It actually turned out to be difficult to find, but I finally found some in a small shop in Kansas and ordered five balls and a hat pattern the shop keeper had too.

I started the project as soon as the yarn came, but something was off. I didn't really like how the project was turning out. I didn't think the yarn really looked like the scarf in the original photo. So everything got shoved into a bag and then into the closet.

I re-started the project by frogging everything I had and decided on a slight pattern modification. The original pattern calls for moss stitch, but the boucle type yarn really obscured the pattern, so I decided on a simple garter stitch instead.

The pattern called for two skeins, but I used four. I think you'd have to use a minimum of three to even get the short length the pattern mentioned. I like the scarf in the end - but think it would have been more fun in a self-striping yarn. I seem to remember the original looking like it striped.

The hat is nice. It has an interesting construction. It was knit flat in garter stitch using two different sizes of needles and then seamed up. It is an interesting hat - but it is probably a one time knit.

Scarf Project Info
Pattern: Fickle Fingers Scarf
By: Gayle Roehm
From: Interweave Knits; Winter 2005
Yarn: Ethno by Zitron; 50g/90m; 4 skeins
Fiber Content: 85% new wool, 15% nylon
Color: 10
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 8
Measurements: Length: 70.5"; Width 6.5"
Notes: I started with the Fat Finger version of the pattern and changed the moss stitch to garter stitch.

I started this project in 2005 shortly after the pattern came out. I finished it almost three years later.

Hat Project Info
Pattern: Ethno Hat
By: Kennita Tully
From: Wildflower Yarns and Knitwear
Yarn: Ethno by Zitron; 1 skein
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 8 and US# 11

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Swissy Sunday - Sleeping the Day Away

It's been a nice relaxing weekend and Sherman and Scarlett decided to top it off with a nap.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Swissy Sunday - Scarlett's First Bath

Well this weekend we gave Scarlett her first bath. She actually behaved much better than we could have expected or ever hoped. This photo shows the start of the bath - we put an old towel on the bottom of the tub to help give her better footing and prevent her from slipping around to much.

This might be the only bath she will ever have inside the house. We've always given Sherman his baths outside or taken him to the groomer in the winter if necessary.

We tried another trip to PetSmart this weekend too, but it ended up much like the first. I had to hold her and carry her through the store. I think it is the different floor that she's nervous about.

She's doing well with everything else - we just need to get her out and about more often.

Well, I am finally home and done traveling I'm hoping that work will settle down a little bit as the year comes to an end. I'm looking forward to having more time for fun things like knitting, spinning, puppies, and blogging. I should have some knitting/fiber content later this week.