Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I knit these socks as part of group knit along on Ravelry. These little groups I've been joining have really been encouraging me to dive into my yarn stash for projects. They may be small projects but I'm glad to be using some of the yarn that is just sitting around the house.

The idea being this knit along was to have everyone in the group knit the same pattern, but use as many different colors of Socks That Rock as possible. there were over 150 participants and we ended up with almost as many different colors. I picked the color Titania. It was another leftover from my time in the sock club that I didn't think I'd knit. but I love how the colors knit up in this sock pattern.

I like the slip stitch design in the pattern. I think it works really well for the variegated hand painted yarn I picked. The pattern was easy enough too, but it was a little convoluted. The pattern is written toe up and after knitting the toe of the sock there is a set of instep increases. Then you knit the foot and before the heel is another set of increases. After the heel, you have more increases and then you have to pay attention to the pattern and borrow a few stitches on one of the pattern rows from the back needle.

I usually don't follow patterns like this. I usually just take a stitch pattern and work it into my own formula for a sock. But this time I followed the pattern. I found most of it worked out okay, but after all the increases, the sock was a little baggy in the leg. I wasn't convinced I'd need all those increases and I should have gone with that instinct. But, by the time I had proof, I was too far along to bother with frogging. So, I'll live with slightly baggy socks. I like the socks, but knitting them once was enough.

Project Info

Pattern: Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh
on Ravelry
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Socks That Rock
color - Titania
Needles: addi TURBO US# 2 (2.75 mm)
Notes: Followed pattern

Friday, March 27, 2009

Handspun Friday - Ply by Night

I joined a spin along group on Ravelry called Ply by Night. The idea behind the group is simple - to see how different spinners work with the same fiber and to compare the different results. Each spin along goes for a two month period. This is the groups second project, but my first with them.

This project is running from March to April and begin with the group voting on a fiber, fiber supplier and color. This time we were able to get a group discount and a custom color dyed just for the group. The fiber selected was Bluefaced Leicester from Briar Rose is a mottled lavender color.

After the fiber was picked, we voted on a pattern. This time we actually voted for a pattern for a thinner yarn and a pattern for a thicker yarn. The winning patterns were the Chickadee Cowl by Kristen Kapur for Through the Loops and the Primavera Socks from Sonnentaler. I decided to spin for the socks.

I ended up with a nice amount of three ply yarn and hope to cast on for my socks this weekend. If you are spinner, stop by Ravelry and join the group for the next round!

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: Briar Rose Fibers
Content: 100% Bluefaced Leicester combed top
Weight: 3.80 ounces (finished yarn)
WPI: 18 WPI average
Yardage: 395 yards
Notes: 3 ply, handwash

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clever Little Buckland Shawl

As soon as I finished spinning this yarn, I had an urge to use it in a project. I ended up with just over 500 yards and didn't know what to knit. The yardage is a little muich for a scarf or a hat amd not enough for a full fledged shawl or stole. I spun the stuff too thick for socks. So I took a look around for ideas and patterns.

I settled on this little shawl pattern after an extensive search on the internet. It really is a clever little shawl. It is knit from end to end and doesn't require a pin. There is a little tube of ribbing at each end that allows the other end to slip through and stay put. The photos above shows one end of the shawl and the tube of ribbing.

The shawl is made up of individual sections referred to as "lace points" and these can be added or substracted to change the size of the shawl. There is also some minimal showt row shaping between the lace points. The pattern suggested 14 lace points for a small and 16 for a larger sized shawl. I knit 15 points.

I had a slighlty tighter guage than the original pattern called for and I wanted to use all my yarn up, but the 15 points actually worked out rather well. I think it "fits" and it does seem to stay in place well too. the shawl was very easy to knit. Except for a couple of yarn overs, the whole thing was knit in garter stitch. It is actaully a quite wearable project. I would definaltey knit this pattern again.

Project Info

Pattern: Carol's Clever Little Shawl
from Cheryl Oberle Designs
on Ravelry
Yarn: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
520 yards
100% Finn Sheep
Needles: addi TURBO US# 9 (5.5 mm)
Measurements: Length: 51"; Width 15"
Notes: Followed pattern. Knit 15 lace points. Unblocked

Friday, March 20, 2009

Handspun Friday - Curiosa

I spun the singles for this yarn during the week long frenzy I had a while back. I think it shows a little bit. The finished yarn is a little more uneven than usual. But the good this is that I don't think it will make a difference once it is knitted.

I also really like the colors. The colors in the skein gives me a very spring like effect even though it is 100% wool. The yarn is soft and squishy too.

I have no idea what to knit with this. In fact, that is becoming a problem with a lot of my handspun. But I am working on developing a solution to my growing problem. Hopefully I will be able to implement and share the plan soon.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: Flawful Fibers
Content: 100% Rambouillet combed top
Weight: 8.40 ounces (finished yarn)
WPI: 11 WPI average
Yardage: 546 yards
Notes: 2 ply, handwash

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tie One On

I'm not talking about a night full of drinking, but a much more tame evening focused on fiber.It's amazing how much our entertainment focus changes as we age! To play along at home, you'll need an empty bobbin, leftover yarn, and a pair of scissors. If you have a glass of wine or a beer sitting around, grab that too. It makes a nice addition to the project. I may be older, but I still do enjoy a nice drink now and again. So on to the fiber and spinning.

One of the first things I do when I sit down to spin is check the leader thread on my bobbin. To get started spinning using a spinning wheel, your bobbin needs to have a leader thread attached so you have a way to get the fiber to begin spinning up onto the bobbin. I have even seen leaders used on spindles; although I learned to use a spindle without a leader. If you are using a spindle and having problems getting started, try adding a leader. You don't have that option with a wheel, you need a leader thread.

My leader threads are usually made out of leftover sock yarn. If you don't have sock yarn, you could use any leftover yarn you have on hand. Although I find that I really like the weight of the sock yarn for a leader thread because it doesn't get in the way or take up much room on my bobbin especially when I'm spinning a fine thin singles. Another plus with the sock yarn is the amount of twist and overall strength of the yarn. The yarn leader does get it's fair share of abuse being wound and unwound around the bobbin. I've found my leaders made from sock yarn last the longest.

I cut a long piece of yarn to start, the longer the better for me. I'm guessing that I probably start with 2-3 feet. Tie one end of the leader onto the bobbin and then thread it through your flyer hooks or sliders and the orifice.I then create a loop at the end of my leader and I'm ready to get the fiber out. Some people actually tie their leader to the spinning fiber, but i use the loop and thread a small thin stretch of fiber through the loop and back onto itself to start.

I hold the fiber in my hand and and begin treadling to build up twist in my looped piece of fiber so it stays connected to the leader and will take up onto the bobbin. This is one reason why I like a long leader. It gives me a little time to get the twist from the leader into the spinning fiber and get my hands moving for the drafting. the loop also allows the fiber to separate from the leader in a clean way when you are plying of winding a skein of singles from the bobbin. The leader and loop is then ready for the next spinning project. I use this lead and loop method for spinning and plying. Occasionally when I have a lot of twist in a single or ply I have to cut or break the leader from the new yarn.that is the other reason for a nice long leader.

This is pretty a fairly basic step in spinning and I'm not sure it will be of use to anyone, but it is a place to start. I'm hoping to document more more spinning techniques that I use so we can compare and contrast the methods we all use. I know I still have a lot to learn. Anyway, now that you are all set to start, give the wheel a spin.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Plain 'Ole Ribbed Socks

Simple socks don't have to be boring. With all the hand painted, variegated, self striping sock yarn available even simple ribbed socks can look like a party in your shoes. Take the socks pictures here; simple ribbed design, but fun bright colors.

There are so many good things about ribbed socks. They fit well and they stay up on your leg. The stretch makes everything a little more forgiving too. Another positive thing is that they are easy and quick to knit; no complicated patterns or counts to remember and track as you knit.

Ribbed patterns not only fit well, but also work well with all the crazy dyed sock yarn I have in my stash. If the color is pooling in an unpleasant way, it is easy to add or subtract few stitches to change the way the color is knitting up without sacrificing fit or a lot of pattern tinkering.

This is a color that was left over from the first year of the Socks That Rock Club. It was a color that I didn't really like at all in the skein and figured it would stay in my stash untouched.

But one of the sock yarn scarves from the Traveling Scarf project I'm working on showed up and the color looked like it would be perfect for the scarf. So I wound a ball and knit my section of the scarf. As I was knitting the scarf, I decided I really did like the colors in the yarn and decided I ought to be able to eek out a pair of simple socks with the leftovers.

So once the scarf section was complete, I knit a square for my leftovers blanket and divided the rest of the yarn into two evenly weighted center pull balls and knit one sock from each ball.

Project Info

Pattern: My own recipe
Yarn: Socks That Rock - Lightweight
color - Flower Power
Needles: addi TURBO US# 1 (2.5 mm)
Size: women's medium
Notes: Short row toe & heel; 60 stitches around

Friday, March 13, 2009

Handspun Friday - Night Sky

I followed your suggestions from last Friday and finished the three ply first. I usually save the best for last, but I think it will be backwards this time. I love how this yarn came out. The others will be nice, but this is one of my favorites out of all the yarns I have spun.

I switched my wheel to a higher ration for the spinning and I ended up using about the same amount of twist, but everything was a little easier and went a little faster. I liked that. I did use a lower ratio for plying. I did that so I could fit all the yarn onto one bobbin. My wheel has a couple different sized bobbins. But you can only use them with the appropriate flyers and ratios. It was a little more work in the treadling, but I like the idea of a single skein.

The good news is I know I have enough yarn for a good sized pair of socks!

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: Hello Yarn
Club Fiber from January 2009
Content: Superwash Bluefaced Leicester
Fiber Prep: combed top
Weight: 7.90 ounces (finished yarn)
Yardage: 460 yard
WPI: 16 wraps per inch
Spinning Style: worsted/short draw
Spinning Ratio: 15 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Notes: 3 ply, singles spun at about 32wpi

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Traveling Scarf Group Progress 1 - Halfway There!

I've been participating in two Traveling Scarf Groups and the first group has reached the halfway point. The idea is to start a scarf and send it among a group of people, each person adding a section to the scarf. Once the scarf has moved through the entire group, it returns home complete.

As you browse the pictures, if you mouse over the word notes on the right side, you can see the details of the section I added to each scarf.

It is fun working on all the scarves, looking for just the right yarn and pattern. I have several stitch dictionaries that I know a lot better now and I'm surprised just how many times I've been able to use yarn from my stash. As each scarf makes it way to me it is one block further along on the way to being complete. It is very interesting to see the scarves now that they have reached the halfway point, but it is also a little sad because I may never see the finished scarf, but I'm looking forward to seeing mine!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Handspun Friday - Singles Frenzy

Well my goal for this week was to have another chain plied yarn ready to share, but I didn't get that far. I spun a single I intended to chain ply, but after spinning I wanted a break from that fiber. I still wanted to spin so I went on a spinning frenzy and filled all but one of my bobbins. The only reason that one is empty is so I have something to use to start plying these singles. These two singles will become my next chain plied yarns. One is a super soft merino and the other is a Cormo Corriedale cross.

I also spun singles to make two different two ply yarns. The pink singles are a merino silk blend and the green singles are from a Rambouillet combed top. I have eight ounces of each color. After all that I still had three bobbins waiting for fiber so I decided on a true three ply yarn. I used a superwash Bluefaced Leicester. I think I'll get a great pair of sock out of this.

This was a lot of spinning in just one week but now I've just got to start plying. I just don't know what to start with, but I have to start soon. I joined two spin alongs for March and the fiber for both groups arrived this week; I need more bobbins! But I might just have to take a break from spinning today.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Handspun Chevron Scarf

I started this project because I was anxious to knit up a skein of yarn I had spun up over the holiday.The Yarn was a merino tencel blend. I enjoyed spinning the blend and wanted to see how it would knit up.

I started going though my pattern queue on Ravelry to find something that would work with the limited amount of yarn I had available. I found a simple Chevron pattern that called for one skein of yarn. I knew I had more yardage than a typical skein and if the pattern worked, I'd end up with a good length scarf.

The pattern calls for 25 stitch cast on and that creates two chevron repeats. I started with that and knit a few inches, but didn't really like the results. The pattern suggested casting on 37 stitches if you had more yarn; so I tried that. The 37 stitch cast on gave me three chevron repeats. I liked that a lot better so I knit the two row pattern until I ran out of yarn.

I enjoyed knitting with the merino tencel blend. The finished scarf is light and very soft and smooth. The tencel gives the yarn a sheen that is nice, but makes it hard to photograph. I think I ended up with a good length despite the limited yardage. I did try and block the scarf, but I'm not sure I got it quite right. I missed opening up some small areas down each edge.

Project Info

Pattern: One Skein Tapestry Scarf
by Knot Another Hat
Yarn: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
250 yards
merino/tencel blend
Needles: addi TURBO US# 8 (5 mm)
Measurements: Length: 69"; Width 5.25"
Notes: Cast on 37 stitches

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Swissy Sunday

Well this weekend has been cold and rainy and the crew has been confined to the house. The twist is that Scarlett was spayed on Friday and we've been instructed to keep her calm and no running and jumping. That worked for the first eight hours she was home. But first thing Saturday morning, she was ready to go.

We've spent a lot of time trying to keep the pups calm and we've had to resort to separating them in different rooms a good part of the weekend. This photo is from one of my times with Scarlett. She likes to be with us and can't resist getting up close. Sometimes she even lays a paw on top of my feet while I treadle the wheel.

Sherman had had his own adventures lately too. He is an intact male, but that is going to change on Wednesday. He is having prostate problems and neutering will correct the problems. You can see in the photo where he was shaved for an ultra sound. I guess this is all our part to keep the local veterinarians in business during these tough economic times. After Sherman's surgery, we are expecting another weekend of trying to keep everyone calm and settled. No easy task with two very energetic dogs.