Friday, January 30, 2009

Handspun Friday - Buckland

This started out as eight ounces of Finn wool top. It is the first time I've work with Finn before and I loved it! I knew nothing about before getting this roving; it was my November Club shipment from Hello Yarn. So I decided to look up a little info about Finn sheep and here is what I found out.

Finnsheep (sometimes referred to as Finnish Landrace) were developed from homebred stock in eastern and north-eastern Finland. They are thought to have descended from the Nordic Short-Tail breed and are closely related to Shetland, Icelandic, Spelsau, and Gotland sheep. They are characterized by their short tails, short ears, and heads and legs covered only with guard hair. Finnsheep are a small, hardy breed of sheep. Mature ewes average between 110 and 150 pounds. Rams weigh between 150 to 200 pounds. They are very docile and easy-keepers.

Finnsheep are bred as ewe lambs and generally produce twins during their first lambing season. They are good milkers and can easily raise triplets unassisted. Finn ewes are known for their superb maternal instincts and lambing ease. Their lambs are very vigorous and are up and nursing shortly after birth. Finns are highly sought after in crossbreeding programs because of their valuable maternal traits.

Finn wool is considered a medium wool. Its average fiber diameter ranges from 23 to 31 microns and the average staple length is 3 to 6 inches. The grease fleece weights range from 5 to 8 pounds. Finns can be shorn once or twice a year. The most notable qualities of Finn fleece are its soft hand and luster. These traits make Finn wool unique because luster is very rare in softer, medium grade wools. Finn wool is available in a variety of natural colors: white, black, brown, and shades of gray and tan. Sometimes the fleeces are piebald, presenting a mixture of white and black or white and brown fibers, similar to Jacob sheep.

I'd say this yarn is soft enough to knit anything you'd like and I've read that the wool would felt well too. I will say that this was great to spin. It was soft and smooth. It was easy to draft and it really almost spun itself. I was sorry that I only had eight ounces. All I can say is I want to try more Finn. I may have just found a new favorite.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: Hello Yarn
November 2008 Fiber Club
Content: Finn wool
Color: Buckland
Fiber Preparation: top
Weight: 8 oz
Yardage: 528 yards
WPI: 10-11 wraps per inch
Spinning Style: worsted
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 10 to 1
Notes: hand wash; 2 ply

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Flip Side

For some unknown reason, I always feel the need to have at least two small projects with me when I travel. I've been traveling this week for work and wanted to take some knitting along. I only had two projects going the Leyburn socks and the blanket project that I've picked back up. The sock project travels well so I brought that with me. The blanket project isn't really meant to leave the house - so I needed a new portable project.

I decided on a new scarf project. They are small enough to carry along and it seems that there is always enough yarn stashed away for an interesting scarf. So I picked the Vice-Versa pattern by Laura Aylor. She is the lady that designed the Lizard Ridge Afghan. The scarf id a double knitting project and my first attempt at double knitting.

It is a little bit fiddly to do, but I have to say I really like how the knitted fabric feels. It has a nice soft cushy feeling to it. It's kind of fun to watch the color blocks develop too. I have a feeling that this will be a project that sits around for awhile before it gets finished. I like the idea of this really being double sided too.

I'm using two colors of Noro Silk Garden that I had originally set aside to knit myself one of those striped scarves that are so popular. But after knitting Brad's scarf I thought it might be fun to have something a little different than his - then I saw this pattern.

I think the pictures are a little misleading on my color selections. I think when the scarf is finished there will be a lot more color variation than is showing up here. One of the colors I picked is mostly purples and the other is full of greens. It will be fun to watch how it actually works out.

I'm not sure why I feel a need to travel with multiple projects. It is Wednesday now and I"m on my way home. I've actually done very little knitting during this whole trip. I slept on a good portion of the flight out to LA. Maybe I can get some knitting done on the marathon flight home today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Swissy Sunday - Winter Wonderland

We had two great days this week with Sherman and Scarlett. We got at least six inches of beautiful fluffy snow on Tuesday. The first part of the pictures are from that Tuesday. It was the first time Scarlett has ever been in snow. The funny thing is that the last time we had this much snow is the year we got Sherman.

Tuesday we had a nice long walk in the woods to admire all the snow. Sherman and Scarlett couldn't get enough of running around and chasing each other in the snow. Scarlett couldn't stop eating the snow and Sherman made his version of a snow angel.

On Wednesday we took some time and built a Snowlar Bear, our version of a snowman. Scarlett didn't like having to share the sticks from the yard and kept stealing them back. Once we went inside Sherman spent a good hour or so walking by the window and barking at the Snowlar Bear out in yard and Scarlet laid down for a nice long nap.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Handspun Friday - Ivory Coast

Getting all that spinning done over the Christmas holiday was great for Handspun Friday. I've got several things in the queue to share and up today is Bluefaced Leicester from crown Mountain Farms in a color called Ivory Coast.

I actually have a lot of Crown Mountain Farms fiber in my stash. It comes in in several great fiber varieties and a lot of different colors. It is a good value too. The handdyed fiber comes in an 8 ounce bundle whcih is a lot of fiber to spin and it only costs about what you'd pay for 4 ounces on other sites.

Crown Mountatin Farms has a lot of different fibers avaialble, I've only tried the handdyed. this is my second time; the first time didn't turn out to well. I had a lot of dye bleed out. The problem occured not only in the after spin soak, but during the spinning too. I had a lot of red dye on me and my wheel. So I was hesitant to try again.

But looking at all those 8 opunce bundles of fiber in my stash was really getting to me. So I decided to try again. There was a very small amount of dye that was on my hands after spinning the entire 8 ounces; nothing that was alarming or unacceptable. there was bleed out in the wash but I used HOT waste contrary to the suggested treatment of cool water. I'm okay with that too. Now, I'm anxious to spin up more of my crown Mountain Stash.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber : Crown Mountain Farm
Content: Blue Face Leicester
Color: Ivory Coast
Fiber Preparation: thumb size roving
Weight: 8 oz
Yardage: 414 yards
WPI: 10-11 wraps per inch
Spinning Style: worsted
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 10 to 1
Notes: hand wash; 2 ply

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Knitting In Progress

After finishing the ginormous cowl, I couldn't decide what to start next. I've seen a lot of blog posts lately of people knitting the Leyburn Socks with Socks that Rock yarn. Carrie knitted a pair and posted a group photo from others knitting Leyburns. Pam, Cristi, and Zonda are all knitting (or have finished) these too. There is a huge group of people on Ravelry doing a knit along with this pattern and yarn. I have a lot of STR yarn stashed, so I decided to join in.

The pattern is fast and is really working well with the variegated colors in the yarn. I really like how the socks are knitting up. It isn't a color I picked out, it is actually something from a club I belonged to and something I never really had any intentions of knitting. I didn't really think I'd like the colors. But I was wrong, the colors look nicer knitted up than I anticipated.

I've also decided to pull out a project that hasn't touched in a long time. I started this blanket back in 1997 and didn't knit a single stitch on it in 2008. I have several projects in similar states and they always seem to be this dark cloud looming around my knitting and my stash. They sit there making me feel guilty when I want to start a new project.

So the goal is to finish these projects or frog them and be done with it. Either way, I'm looking forward to having a guilt free fiber experience. I decided to start with this blanket for a couple of reasons. It was easy to decided that yes, I still want the blanket and it's cold out now. So having a pile of knitting in my lap is actually kind of nice. I can't think of anything I'd want to do with these colors. I don't think I'd really wear a sweater this bright.

So I'm going to knit a bit on this every week until its complete and then pick up another lost project. I'll keep working on new projects while I work through the back log too; hopefully that will keep me going.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Expanded Cowl

I went from not wanting to ever knit a cowl to knitting the biggest one I could find. This one will keep your neck warm for sure, but it will also keep your ears and shoulders warm too. This was a perfect time to finish this too. We've had a lot of cold weather lately.

The pattern called for worsted weight yarn, but this handspun was more of a dk weight. I used the same size needles and cast on number and I'm pleased with the results and it will certainly be warm. I plan on wearing it under my coat in place of a scarf and hat.

The bottom edging does have a tendency to flip up while wearing, but I don't really know what I could have done differently. Maybe I could have made the whole shoulder part slightly wider, but it works as it is. The pattern was very to follow. The instructions were clear and nothing was overly complicated. I have seen several more patterns, mostly wraps and shawls, by this designer that I'd like to knit.

I liked being able to use my handspun yarn for this project. I've really been enjoying the projects I knit with handspun. Its like a surprise as you knit - cause you are never sure how the yarn will knit up. I always wonder what the color will do and if my spinning mistakes will be hidden. If you are spinning your own yarn but not knitting with it, you really are missing something.

Project Info

Pattern: Balsam by Ilga Leja
Yarn: Geddesberg Handspun Yarn
Bluefaced Leicester
10 ounces / 588 yards
Roving - Hello Yarn - Insect Wings (Club Fiber)
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 6 (4.0 mm) and US# 8 (5.0 mm)Notes: I did add the extra increase in the shoulder section. I knit 5 garter ridges instead of 3 for the edgings.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Handspun Friday - Pale Fire

I love the colors and the softness of this yarn. It is a bamboo merino blend that has a nice sheen and drape. This yarn ended up being something between a sport and worsted weight.

The bamboo made this a nice spin too. Everything was smooth and silky and a little bit slippery.

I'm thinking that I'll knit a nice spring scarf with this skein; probably something with a slightly open pattern. I think this yarn will be nice next to the skin and against the face.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber Content: 60% merino / 40% bamboo
Fiber Source: FatCatKnits
Color: Pale Fire
Weight: 8 ounces
Yardage: 506 yards
WPI: 12-14 wraps per inch
Notes: 2-ply

Monday, January 12, 2009


This is my first thrummed project.There is nothing like a 60 degree winter day to make you want to knit a pair of thrummed mittens.I've wanted to try a thrummed project for awhile and I purchased this kit by Fleece Artist quite awhile ago. I bought the kit before I started spinning. I also have a thrum sock kit sitting around too. The kit consisted of a skein of yarn and a piece of roving. A mitten pattern came on the band that wrapped the yarn and fiber together.

Now that I spin, I have more than enough fiber sitting around and I don't think that a kit for thrumming would be necessary. The mittens have about 2 ounces of roving knit into them. They seem like they would be very warm.They aren't too heavy, but they are thick. Movement of your hands is difficult and I don't think I could pick anything up with them on my hands. They feel like I imagine boxing gloves would feel.

The biggest thing missing from the kit were instructions on turning the piece of roving into thrums. if you are interested in thrumming and haven't tried it before, Hello Yarn has some very clear instructions for creating and knitting with thrums.

I started knitting these while my in-laws were visiting for Christmas and my mother in-law was really taken with these. So, I'll be packaging them up and sending them off to her in the next few days. it really isn't cold enough for me to get much use out of them.

Project Info

Pattern: Thrum Mittens by Fleece Artist
Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran
roving - provided in kit (60 grams)
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 4 (3.5 mm)
Notes: I added about 4-5 additional rows of ribbing before starting the thrumming. I cast on for the large size but knit them to the length specified for the medium size.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Handspun Friday - Just Another 3-ply

This is the last spinning project I finished over the Christmas Holiday. It is a three ply super wash merino.

After I finished plying this yarn, I decided that I didn't want to put off learning to chain ply any more. The roving seemed to have strong colors and long repeats of those colors. I was hoping that would translate a little better to the finished yarn. I was really hoping for more of a self striping kind of effect. Instead, my uneven division of fiber and uneven spinning resulted in more of a barber pole effect.

I do like the yarn. It is really soft and I'd definitely buy more fiber from dkKnits. I didn't end up with much yardage at all though, so I'm not sure what I'll knit. I've got another project I'm working on right now, so I'll throw this in a basket and let in marinate for a while.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Fiber Content: super wash merino
Fiber Source:
Color: Naughty or Nice Nicky
Yardage: 160 yards
Weight: 4 ounces
Notes: 3-ply yarn

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Just Keep Spinning

I know that a lot of blogs post their works in progress on Wednesdays and the knitting I'm doing right now isn't that far along. I don't think anyone wants to see a project that only has a few rows on the needles, so I decided to share what I've been spinning and give everyone a sneak peak at what will be coming up for the next several Handspun/Fiber Fridays.

I did a lot of spinning on my vacation of the holidays. I finished three skeins from start to finish and you've already seen two of those, the Holiday Tencel and the Yarn Wench Mourning Dove that I've recently posted; the third will be posted this Friday. I started a lot of other spinning projects that I started too as you can see in the photo above. In fact, all but one of my bobbins are filled. So if I want to do any more spinning it's time to start plying so I can free up some bobbins.

There are nine bobbins pictured and all but one of them are going to be plied together with their mate for a total of four new 2-ply yarns. The bobbins are not necessarily pictured next to their mate in the arrangement in the photo. Three of the four are going to be big skeins that weigh in at 8 ounces each and one of the two plies will be a small four ounce skein.

The bobbin that doesn't have a mate is filled with four ounces of super wash merino singles and is being reserved for my first attempt at chain/Navajo plying. The idea is to ply a single back on itself and end up with something that resembles a three ply yarn that keeps the colors together. So I picked some fiber that had long color repeats that should highlight the technique well if I can master it. Learning how to chain ply is my main spinning goal for 2009. I've wanted to try it for a long time and have been putting it off, so I'm starting it early.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Handspun Argosy Wrap

This project took way too long to complete. I started it just about three months ago and most of the time it just sat there in a basket. I got a lot down right when I started the project but then got caught up in a bunch of other things and finally just got back around to getting it finished.

I used the yarn that I spun for the Tour de Fleece this summer. I didn't really know what to do with all that yarn, but I figured it would all go into the same project. I picked the easiest simplest shawl pattern I could find. I figured that the simple pattern would help highlight all the colors in the yarn.

The only thing I might have done differently would have been to knit from alternating skeins every few of rows. I knit each skein completely and then started the next. I ended up with a lot less ends to weave in, but I also ended up with larger blocks of color. Although overall I'm happy with the finished results.

Project Info

Pattern: Argosy Wrap by Vyvyan Neel
Yarn: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Fiber: Mix of Merino, Blue-faced Leicester, silk and tencel
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 8 (5 mm)
Measurements: Length: 85"; Width 14.5"(unblocked)
Start Date: September 23, 2008
Finish Date: December 22, 2008
Notes: I followed the pattern, but I did add about 6-8 repeats to the middle section. I have not blocked the shawl.