Thursday, June 23, 2016

Handspun things

I think, as I normally do about two-thirds of the way through the month, that I've set myself a bit too much this month. I seem to spend a lot of time making lists and plotting how much time such-and-such will take to finish. Fortunately, it doesn't matter a whit if I do actually fail to finish a knitted thing by the end of the month; its just good to have goals and deadlines for the fun of trying to hit them.

My Hitch Hiker has stopped here, at thirty points, which is a little over half way (half-way being 28) and the stripes are looking pretty matched so far. Here's a dodgy photo of it, folded so you can see the begining (point) near the row on the needles.

I made a handspun hat for a quick class at the beginning of the month. It's a colorwork one called "Henny", and I used the "Trail Mix" spun back in Feb, the one with the purple separated out. Unfortunately I hit a dark green patch at the same time as the colorwork part, so it's not as visible as it should be, but I still like it.

I'll try it again with a better contrast, I think.

And I'm finally knitting up my "Horace the Cheese" yarn into socks. I cranked the handspun using the 54-stitch cylinder, finding it the right width, but running into a few problems. For one, the knitted fabric is a bit airy; the stitches are not tight enough, which is a problem because if you don't have dense fabric you'll wear holes in your socks in no time. But if I turned up the tightness, some of the yarn wouldn't go through, as it's a bit uneven in thickness. Problem 2: the tube ended up being 120cm long.

So I thought I'd attempt a solution to both problems by folding the end of the tube up inside. The foot, everything below the heel, is double thickness, and the toe will be added onto the fold. I've finished one sock now, knitting the live stitches to the beginning of the heel (on the bottom) and joining the live stitches to the top of the foot (on the inside). There's a bit of a bump, as I wasn't sure how to manage it while keeping the fabric stretchy, except to do my usually stretchy cast-off. But that lump will blend right in; the leg is so long that I'm going to wear it pushed down. I could pull them up near my knees, except that I failed to realize that 54 stitches, while great for my foot, was not the width of my calf.

I like the colors, though, and the way the grey (a different color of handspun Finn called Quiet Shade) matches the blue-grey parts in the tube.

I may be making socks for Jasmine, too. They're speckled with bright pink. I only have heels to go, but I'm hoping to make her a second pair for her birthday, and Byron a second pair, too. Then Zac will need a few pairs, I'm sure. He owns one sock that I made for Byron years ago, that's too small and has lost its mate, and he wears it a lot! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Not sure how this one came about, except that when I was searching through the stash one day I found these two yarns, side by side, and decided they looked good together. I thought, before changing my CSM cylinders over, to make a loose-gauge 72-stitch tube with alternating stripes of each, and Kitchener the ends together into a long cowl.

On my CSM I cranked 30 rounds of each color before changing, and did 660 rounds in all. I didn’t think I’d get another repeat, so I stopped at 190g. I tried to block it a bit wider than longer, and it looks good wrapped twice around my neck, but could be wrapped 3 or 4. It’s about 200cm around.

The darker orange is Hedgehog Fibres "Sock" in Rusty Nail. I think it was a freebee (ie. one that Convent and Chapel sent me by mistake, instead of the BFL/nylon mix of "Twist" which I'd asked for, and they said I could keep the "Sock" free for my trouble). This is one of the few shades of orange I really seem to like. I have some Treppenviertel socks in the Twist they sent me. The lighter orange is Shire String in "Elinor Gardiner", one I bought just because it was dyed by a Ravelry friend, though I didn't know what to do with it.

Like this orange match up quite well. Then, I changed the CSM and made another orange thing, this one hand-dyed by me, and sent both orange things to Kelly for her birthday.

Hope it's not too orange for her :)

I haven't finished too many other things for  May. I started my Order of the Phoenix Mission, which is to make a completed 42-point HitchHiker (or as close as I can get with 600y of handspun). It's very addictive... mainly just plain knitting, but it's strangely compelling to do "just one more point". This is the yarn I spun earlier this year, dividing it up so that it will  hopefully have stripes of equal thickness, in spite of the longer and longer rows.

I also tried a new weaving technique called "Clasped weft" weaving. It's addictive, too. I used 3 colors of Hedgehog Fibres Sock for this one, too, a light purple/grey for the warp, with a purple and a pale pastels  pair for the weft. Afterwards I realized they were an alliterative trio called Ghost, Grape and Granny.

(Small things... Etc. Hehe.)

I finished off some greenish spinning, too, Polwarth and Silk, and now I'm back onto the NEWT stuff again. I've got lots of spinning to do for it this month, as I've neglected it a bit in May, but it's a reasonably easy-going sort of NEWT, as they go. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Byron 9

Last year, Byron asked for a jumper that wasn't "itchy" for his birthday, so I made him one in cotton. I don't think he's worn it since! (He doesn't like giving them to his brother, and he likes getting them, but not wearing them.) This year, he asked for socks and gloves. So I dyed and knit up these

and ran out of time for gloves, so I bought him some. I made these partly on the CSM. I changed the cylinder to a 54-stitch one, and used sport weight sock yarn. It fits him (and me) really well on the foot, but he has skinny little ankles, so the only CSM part is below the ribbing, not including the toe or heel. LOL. And I underestimated the length (his feet are 22cm already) so the heel sits under his foot a bit.

Still, he wore them to basketball, to school the next day, to bed, to school again, and then I literally pulled them off his feet. He loves them.


Out with the birthday jumpers, in with socks. More to come. Jasmine and Zac have both "ordered" some, and I made myself this pair, using more hand-dyed sport-weight sock yarn (I got 10 skeins of Knitpicks Stroll Sport in "Bare" for dyeing fun).

I finished a few skeins for the NEWT. This Mars one

which I'm not too fond of. Never been a fan of red and green together, and the plying was less than careful as a result. This is one SCF I may actually overdye one day. But I have to admit that red dirt and little green men is very Mars. ;)

And these two, which are mixes of Moss (green) and Closer to Home (blue/green/brown). One is 3/4 Moss and one is 3/4 CTH, in the manner of Navajo 4ply.

Also, spun up this Yak that my sister sent me for my birthday last month. (She also sent Banana and Hemp, which I'll try soon). It was difficult to spin, because the fibres are so short. I couldn't stretch out the fibre (as you do when drafting) more than an inch, but once twist was added it behaved just like any nice wool. It's really, really soft! I left it white, but I may yet dye it. (Didn't want to felt it all up by dyeing it first).

I've done more dyeing (more of the thicker sock yarn, soon to be socks)

A cheerful blue, this time, with shots of color, as I've done a few times before.

I have a few more hats, some finished, some half-done, spinning just out of the 'bath', and a half-done Mystery Cowl, for which I'm using the "Byron" colorway I found at Bendigo last year. I'll start a handspun shawl/scarf in a few days, and might weave a "clasped weft" scarf this week. We'll see :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Free Soup

This is the Ballarat Soup Bus. I haven't seen it in action, but I went up to see the bus today, and the new one they're just starting to do up (which you can see there on the right)

They put a request on Facebook this week for cans and sugar and milk, etc. because they'd run right out. I think they got a good response! This is their donation morning (Saturday 9-10:30 at the corner of Eureka and Fussell Sts) and there were cars all over and their little storeroom was a chaos of new donations. I'd taken some cans and milk and sugar with me, too, but mainly I wanted to finally donate my little stash of hats.

Here are some quick shots of them all as I packed them into ziplock bags.

So! Much! Fun! I've finished another NEWT hat and I'm working on number 7 and 8. My holidays are almost up, but I've gotten a good head start. And my NY resolution of 50 hats for the Soup Bus is going well. 16 of these are from this year, so 34 to go :)

Monday, April 18, 2016


Hats. I'm a bit ahead in hats for this NEWT project, but a bit behind in spinning. Five of the six I need for "50%" are done. Still have quite a bit of spinning to do, though, and some plying.

These all look big on Jasmine. I think I like them big and slouchy. I'm packing up some hats from the hat box, now, since I told the Soup Bus people I'd have a bag of hats for them in April. Now that Jasmine has helped me get pics I can add them to the box.

I've only spun the singles of two lots of "Closer to Home" so far, and now I'm spinning the Mars one. It's not my favorite colorway, actually, so my spinning mojo is a bit low. However, in between the last two, I re-plied my BFL sock yarn from the last NEWT. I wasn't very happy with the twist, and so I took David's advice and overplied it, forgetting "balance".

When I held up the skein it twisted on itself a few times (which means it's unbalanced: ie. The twist of the singles should equal the opposite twist of the plying). But as soon as I washed it, it hung straight! So I finally have a 2ply I'm quite happy with. I still think it's a bit thin for my CSM, but I'll give it a try (next month) and see. Looks much better than the old twist, anyway.

Old twist

New twist

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Begin again

Here's my list from the last post, with completed things. I love the last week of a month, with its HPKCHC deadlines and All the Finished Things!

* spinning for Quidditch (a third done)

"Triumph" on SCF Merino. Spun 5/6 of it to N-ply and 1/6 of it to 3ply, just to see how it looked.

* socks for Quidditch (needs cuffs, heels and toes x2)

* socks for a class (needs cuffs, heels and toes x2, too)

This Lorna's Lace Shepherd Sock made quite nice dense fabric (with my CSM) for a change. The irregular pooling annoys me, though :)

* a class I haven't even started yet.

Decided on weaving. The class prompt had to do with "being prepared" and used Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy as an example ("Always bring a towel"). I used 42 different sock yarn scraps (as 42 is an important number in HHGG) and wove a "towel" of my own.

Twisted all the ends.

Got Jasmine to be my model again :) She does it well.

* another class I haven't started yet.

And one more spin. This is a 3ply (after liking the Triumph one) of "Primordial" in SCF MCN (Merino/ Cashmere/ Nylon). This was a freebee from SCF (random monthly prize). I also have another one, which I'll probably N-ply to see how they look. I love the MCN, and the colors!
 Now it's April, and I've started NEWT number 9. This time I'm doing a mix of Arithmancy ("make at least ten things the same") and Astronomy ("interpret something astronomical in fibre"). I'm spinning about a kilo of fibre for Earth and Mars (the February SCF club was based on the movie "The Martian" and I have the Mars and Earth colorways for that) and ten hats for the ten biggest moons in the solar system.  I have 2 weeks of holidays coming up (after one last night shift tonight!) and I'm going to get as much done as I can, especially hats!

Monday, March 21, 2016

7 nights to go

I have a few things to finish by the end of the month, and only 7 non-work nights left. (I can take knitting to work but it's been far too busy lately to get even a few rows in.) I have yet to finish

* spinning for Quidditch (a third done)
* socks for Quidditch (needs cuffs, heels and toes x2)
* socks for a class (needs cuffs, heels and toes x2, too)
* a class I haven't even started yet.
* another class I haven't started yet.

I've just clicked over 1000 points for this term in the HP knitting game, but I've got over 300 to collect somehow in order to beat my personal best (in a term I did an OWL).

At least my OWL is done. I made a project for each house; this month it was the two spinning ones for Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.

The 2ply BFL (the red and yellow one) is underspun (although I thought it was overspun) and it looks very underplied now, even though it's balanced. It's supposed to look tightly twisted when it's finished, and that also makes it stronger. David says it would be better to have tightly twisted unbalanced yarn if I want to use it for socks, but if it's curling back on itself it won't do for the sock machine. It's also a bit too thin. 100g of regular sock yarn is, say, 400y, and this is 566. I could have N-plied it and it would have looked much nicer and still been sock yarn.

Oh, well. One day I'll make a 2ply I like. Possibly.

The Ravenclaw one is lovely, though: N-plied polwarth and tencel. I've already wrapped it up ready to go, although I think I will make it a Mission for next term, which won't start until May.

Today I finished two things: Armwarmers (which are being called legwarmers for the purposes of Muggle Studies, which had to do with the Eighties)

(Byron's legs. He ran off with them after this, saying how warm his legs were...)

and a handspun cowl


It's about 14 inches high, and  bunches up around my neck nicely. Not sure about that pale green, though. That may end up tucked under and sewn down as a hem.

I've also finished this slouchy little cabled hat, which is for the charity box.

Now it's 8:30, and I'm going to keep going with my very colorful and bright merino spinning (for Quidditch!) and some green socks. 6.8 nights to go!

P.S. Warning for SCF spoilers


New stuff! I got  a "sweater quantity" of fibre from February's SCF club

and this March special edition from Lorna's Laces. This is the Quintet. It's sock yarn, 25g each of the 5 colors in their colorway of the month. I also got a skein of sock yarn and worsted weight yarn. Unfortunately, the colors in the other two are not so bright (more of a semisolid brown) so it's not obvious that they're supposed to "go together". But I daresay they'll look ok. I'm thinking of a shawl with this set, and a hat with the thick skein and gloves with the sock yarn skein.

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