Spinning Sunday

>> Sunday, December 28, 2008

Phew! This last week has flown by. Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holiday was as amazing as mine.

Spinning is a new hobby for me, and so I don't have a lot of equipment. For the first three months I was using a friend's spindle as I didn't have one of my own. My husband has more than remedied this situation with his Christmas gifts to me. I present them for your viewing pleasure (click to embiggen):

First, there was a Royal Ball Winder. Now I can make those adorable center-pull balls from my skeins of handspun.

Next was the handmade swift. Made out of birdseye maple, this spins like a dream and has several holes to adjust the distance between the pegs. This may have been a self-serving gift, though, as Hubs HATES to hold skeins while I make balls out of them. I tried the two in conjunction today and they both worked perfectly! I love them.

My friend Rob bought me a present I've wanted for a while - I digital scale. Now I can weigh my fiber, yarn, and spindles and now how much I'm getting! It measures in both ounces and grams and has a plastic tray to keep things where they should be.

Finally in the hardware department were not one, not two, but SEVEN handmade spindles. Four are birdseye maple with hardwood shafts; three are mahogany with oak shafts. The smaller spindles are 2.75" in diameter, the larger are 3.5" in diameter. They are different thicknesses for different weights (they range from 5/8 of an ounce to 1 & 3/8 of an ounce). All top whorl, they are fantastic! I spun and plyed on them and they work GREAT.

Oooh, and it is SOFT! Two four ounce bundles of natural shetland wool. One is a black/white stripe, the other a cream/caramel stripe. The fiber comes from Windswept Farms in Michigan. The owner included some sample fibers from his other sheep, too. I will definitely be ordering from them again! I think the big fiber balls look a little like Ewoks, don't you? I did give in to the urge and spin one of the samples up. I navajo plyed it (my first time!) and wound it with my ball winder. Shetland + light spindle + ball winder = adorable skein of fibery goodness!

At the Christmas party at my second job, my boss got me a basket filled with four skeins of Caron's Eco Soft yarn. This yarn is 80% acrylic, 20% recycled plastic bottles. Included in the yarn were a set of needles and a crochet hook. It was perfect. Thanks Lori!

Not pictured are my Knit Picks Options nickel-plated interchangeable needles. I didn't photograph them because they are already in use. I cannot express how wonderful these needles are. They are the right amount of pointy-ness and have incredibly forgetful cables (they have no memory and so don't get stuck in a particular shape). THANKS BEAR!

What did you get for Christmas?


Spinning Sunday

>> Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome to a quasi-regular feature here at Knit One, Spin Two - Spinning Sunday. This is where I share with you what I'm spinning, how I'm spinning it, and what I plan to knit with it once I'm done.

This week's spinning comes from a fabulous batt I got from loop fibers on Etsy. It was 3 oz, a blend of bamboo, alpaca, corriedale, and kid mohair, called "beauty berries." Aside from the bits of fluff I'd practiced on, it was my first spin. I only had my beginner's spindle (provided by lori) - a simple 1.75 oz. spindle with a 3/8in. shaft. Here's the batt before I spun it (after I pulled it into roving):

Being so new to spinning, I was still park-and drafting. I spun as thin as I could:

If I had been smart, I'd have left it as a single and knit from that. However, I'd heard about the Andean method of plying and wanted to try it. Here's what I ended up with:

It's about 80 yards of a heavy worsted/aran weight yarn.

Which is the problem.
Because while 160 yards of a dk weight yarn is enough to knit something pretty, 80 yards isn't all that much. I don't know what to make out of it - it isn't enough for mittens, I'm not sure if it's enough for a hat (my guess is no as I have a giant head) ... I'm kind of lost. Don't get me wrong - this yarn is GORGEOUS. But what to make out of it? That is *the* reason to spin, is it not? Help!


What's on the Needles?

>> Saturday, December 20, 2008

Like many knitters, I have a plethora of projects on my needles. My husband thinks I often have too many. "Are you ever going to finish that sweater?" he'll ask. Of course I am! There are just so many other projects I want to work on, too. Thanks to Ravelry, I have at my fingertips an inexhaustible source of tempting things to knit. Here's what I'm working on at the moment (with Ravelry links):

1. Trigger Finger Mittens. The pattern is a modified "soldier's gauntlet" by Halcyon Yarns. In my house they are called trigger finger mittens. They are regular mittens with a separate space for the index finger so that you can use it to pull the trigger on a gun. The florescent orange acrylic yarn speaks for itself in that context, I think. I knit this pair for my husband as a test of the pattern; I have to make my father a pair before Christmas. Thankfully one mitten only takes a couple of hours to knit.

2. Entrelac Scarf. I've credited the pattern to Allison LoCicero, because it was the closest I could find to what I am doing (and knit with Noro!), but anything entrelac is basically the same. I have modified the pattern to suit the yarn, as I'm using thinner yarn than Allison did. This scarf (knit on size two needles) is going to take years to complete. It's my knit group project - that way I can dedicate at least an hour a week to it.

3. Cabled Pullover with Hood. Pattern by Patons. This sweater has been OTN (on the needles) for over a year already. Like the mittens, it's acrylic - but it's a very soft mohair look acrylic by lionbrand. I swatched before I knit and got gauge, but this sweater is going to be enormous. I started it last year when I was thirty pounds heavier. I wanted something that fit loosely (this sweater has no shaping). I'm going to get my wish; I'm going to be able to swim in this thing! I will have to finish it and see how it looks before I decide whether I'm going to keep it or not. It was my first attempt at cabling and reading charts, so there are a ton of visible mistakes in it. Despite all that, I kinda like it. I still have the rest of the back, both sleeves, and hood to knit, plus seaming.

Next week I'll post some of my finished objects. Feel free to click on the links and view my Ravelry page. If you don't have Ravelry, what are you waiting for?? Request your invitation today!
Also - you can always click on these pictures to make them larger so you can see better. What does the Harlot call it? Em-biggening?


Inaugral Post

>> Friday, December 19, 2008

Hi. That's me.

My name's Boutrosbabe. And Amalia. And Bear's Wife. And other things that vary in degrees of humor and appropriateness.

I'm a knitter. And a spinner. And a cook. And a cat mom.

A runner. A reader. A teacher. A woman. A wife. A sister. A friend.

I am a lot of things, and I do a lot of things.

Most of them are described in detail here.

This blog will be for all things knit, spin, cook and cat related. I'll try to inform and entertain you as I keep myself accountable for the hours I spend on the things I love. For now, let me introduce you to two others who will be frequently featured here: Zedd and Briggs.


10kH is here for now. Hush.

Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch

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