I am starting 2012 with a little stash busting exercise. My first mission, since I need dish cloths, is to use up all my dish cloth cotton. So far, I’ve got three nice ball band dishcloths. The first two are the standard 45 stitch size on 4.5 mm needles. I found that this required 6.5 pattern repeats to come out squarish, and was a bit larger than I wanted (9.5 in), so the third one is a 39 stitch size, 5.5 pattern repeats (8 in). Still 2.5+ balls of cotton to go.
I’ll bet some of you are stash busting too. What are you making?
Maybe one day I will catch you all up on what I’ve done since my last post, but right now I want to show you this:
Continue reading Blue!
But first, a spotty recap of Winter. The next 4 pictures are my entire photo-record of December.
I had to buy a new vacuum cleaner. I took this picture just in case I didn’t like it and had to put it back in the box. So of course, it was fine.
This mouse was stuffed with fluff and poly beads and just sits around looking cute. It was knit from locally hand-dyed Brigss & Little Sport. I made quite a few bigger mice (from Lett Lopi) that were stuffed with fluff and catnip and given away to some VERY happy kitties.
December 28, a flock of gold finches in their winter drab colours.
Now I know I knit other stuff in December, but I have no pictures, so let’s just move on.
Early in January I used this yarn
to make a scarf.
It looks like that picture was taken at the end of the first of two skeins of old Sock Hop yarn (Great Balls of Fire!). It made a shortish Corrugator scarf, perfect with my winter jacket.
January 10. Amaryllis time. Hey look, there was no snow!
This amaryllis bulb outdid itself with 3 flowers on that first stalk and then 4 more on the second stalk!
That’s all I have for January? I’m sure I knit something. Oh well, moving right along to February…
At the end of February I did some spinning.
The second picture is a better representation of the colour. It was pretty nearly the same as the cat, actually. The roving was a nice “wool” that I picked up at Belfast Mini Mills during the summer. It was an 8 oz bag so there will be more of that in the future. So far I’ve got about 200 yards of a very decent 2-ply, aran weight, about 100 g.
Next up was some unidentified wool, part of a sampler of fibre from my SIL Liane, which turned into about 77 m, 44g, of 2-ply aran weight yarn. Mmm. Squooshy.
That was spun in February but plied in March. Continuing with March,
I don’t know if I every showed this before. It was some of the wool that Ben brought me back from Estonia.
I is a single strand of roving, about an 1/8th of an inch wide. No drafting required! Since there were two repeats of the colour sequence, I spun each one onto separate bobbins and then plied them together, hoping for nice transitions between the colours. And it worked!
A total of 408 yds of woolen goodness.
Also in March, I finished a pair of socks started in September ?! That’s part of the Trekking collection generously provided by Norma.
Remember the March Super Moon? Here’s how it looked from here.
I have no idea how I did that last one, but it looks pretty cool!
Also spun in March was some Ashford Merino/Silk (Peppercorn) (thanks, Liane!), and Teeswater roving (thanks Marianne!). You can see them both here, together with the other March spinning, and my new Birks!
An finally, April! First, the knitting… The hat-like object was not knit in April. I think it was knit last summer but due to being oddly proportioned, failed as a hat.
… then the felting …
The rainbow mice were knit from some old Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch. It was leftover from a Lucy Neatby sock kit that I think I made for my daughter maybe 9 or 10 years ago ?! It was a great yarn. Their new stuff is superwash, unfortunately.
Presto! Now it’s a … flower pot cozy?
That first batch of mice turned out so well, that I decided I would just keep making mice until I used up all the yarn.
Visit my Flickr photostream for closeups.
And finally, some random pictures of my Spring .
The lily pond
And finally, the (very) wild grape vine
Final harvest 10/10/2010
Just used up the last of the tomatoes that I roasted and froze. So tasty!
Sad kitty with cast #1
Four days later the peg leg kitty was very pleased when he got it off all by himself. Cast #2 didn’t even stay on 24 hours.
Bargain loom ($300!), mostly assembled
Did I scare you!
A visit from some evening grosbeaks on November 1
Marieke's new hat, in progress
Oh look! Some knitting! This was a commissioned hat to replace this one . The purple yarn is pure alpaca. The other yarn is a superwash merino from The Kangaroo Dyer. My own design, featuring double-layered, form-fitting (aka flapless) ear flaps, also featured here and here.
There was more action on the learning-to-weave front. My first warp! A scant 2 yards, 120 ends, of 2-ply wool from Estonia (mentioned here). That’s a shiny, new, 12 dent reed.
Rough sleying the reed
Warping back to front
Beaming the warp
New Texsolv heddles ready for threading
The bread tags were just a counting aid.
Yarmouth Craft Splash Sheep to Shawl Afghan
My local knitting group made this afghan as a fund raiser for our local craft guild. It is all natural wool, hand spun, and hand knitted. I spun a lot of the wool (some old, some new) and knit about a dozen of the squares, including the striped concentric square ones. The raffle netted almost $200!
Wash wool in the skein before you knit with it? Why not? You wash wool in the skein after you spin it. Mind you, you don’t usually throw 17 4 oz skeins into your machine all at the same time. But you can!
This is MacAusland’s wool purchased in PEI this summer at MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. If you visit PEI, don’t miss it, but check the hours carefully. They close early on Friday and we didn’t get to see the mill in operation, but they kindly stayed open a bit longer to let us browse in the shop. Blankets are their main thing, but the wool came in 2-ply and 3-ply, and in the most wonderful heathered colours and solids. I’ll take closeups another day.
They also had wheels of very fine roving. It is a single strand, unlike Briggs & Little Country Roving, which has 5 strands, or the now sadly gone White Buffalo which had 6 strands. Just a single strand, about 1/8 of an inch wide, sold in 8 oz wheels. Just add twist and you have instant yarn. It spins up so quick and even. It’s pretty gratifying. After washing and whacking it is now 2 plys of fluffy, wooly goodness. That’s what gave me the idea to wash the MacAusland’s yarn, which straight from the mill feels kind of stiff and harsh. Now it feels just as lovely as the handspun.
My friend Ann and I each bought two wheels to spin up for our local knitters’ “sheep-to-shawl” blanket that will be raffled off in support of our local craft guild. Not a traditional sheep-to-shawl event, we start with handspun, natural, undyed fibre (generally wool, but maybe some alpaca will find its way in there), and knit it up into 6-inch squares which are then sewn into a large afghan. At less than $5.00 (plus tax) per wheel, this was perfect for our purposes. I just wish I had bought more to spin up for myself. I do believe I will be giving Mr. MacAusland a call.
Well, so much for summer. There are an unbelievable number of things I haven’t shown you, but I have to start somewhere, so here is Minni, last seen in-progress way back in February (!)
Naturally, I made a matching hat. And socks, for which there seems to be no photographic record. They were made out of the green yarn used as the accent colour on the sweater and hat, with just a row or two in the hand painted yarn because that’s all that was left!
I was lucky and got to give the gifties personally on June 10 when Ana(stasia) was 2 months old.
She seemed to like the outfit.
At 4.5 months, look how much she has grown!
So totally worth it.
Sorry it’s not as much as I wanted to post tonight, but the sun was shining and the mowing needed to be done.
This most recent little hat is a reprise of one I did a few years back. Here is the original:
The main yarn was Lanett Superwash, I think, and the variegated yarn was a Fleece Artist sock merino. It is an infant-sized hat, 6-9 months I would guess, probably knit on 2.25-2.50 mm needles.
Here is the new version, prompted by the nagging of my knit night group to produce the pattern. Thanks, ladies!
Again the main yarn is Lanett Superwash, actually a mint green, somewhere between the two colours above. The contrast yarn is a locally hand-dyed Briggs and Little Sport. As you can see it is a very woolen single, fulled slightly during dyeing.
I added a bit of a stranded pattern to the body of the hat and decided to do the decreases at six points instead of ten. I like the look, but it was a nuisance to work since it wouldn’t divide nicely on four dpn’s. I think I will work another one and use either four or eight decreases. Votes?
So. What to talk about? Tomorrow is the first day of summer, but I didn’t get to show you much of what Spring looked like, so here are some pictures from the past couple of weeks.
Hostas and Ferns
Lavender, Coral Bells, and Things with White Flowers
Geese! 4 Adults and 14 Goslings
Doe. A Deer. A Female Deer.
I’ll try to do a better job of keeping up with Spring next year.
Tomorrow, in honour of the first day of summer, I will show you all the stuff I knit over the Winter and Spring and didn’t show you yet. At least, everything I have pictures of. For now, here is a peek at the latest thing, hot off the needles today.
A Fine and Fancy Hat
The first day of June seems like a good day to begin blogging again.
I’ve set up this new blog to help me keep myself on the path as I try to move my new business venture forward from dream to reality. Most days, the path is not very well-marked. It’s more like a deer trail through the meadow: visible only when viewed straight on. With a full-time day job, a huge yard and garden to tend to, housework, craft guild, knit night, kid, cats… I seem to only occasionally stumble across the path and never manage to stay on it for long. Still, I’ll get there.
“And where is ‘there’?”, you may be saying to yourself.
Yarnsmith Fibreworks Inc. (like it?) will be a carding and spinning mini mill turning dirty fleece into clean fibre, batts, roving, yarn, and felt. You will be able to send your single treasured fibre festival fleece or your entire season’s clip to my mill and have it processed as you desire. Not a fleece buyer or producer? You will be able to purchase house-branded fibre and yarn of many types from lace weight to bulky: alpaca, breed-specific wool and wool blends, cashmere, mohair, angora, qiviut… Maybe one day you will be able to stop by the shop and relax in the café with house-roasted coffee and biscotti or fresh lemonade and ginger cookies.
Until then, I will use this space to keep in touch, both with you and the dream, writing about the usual things, knitting, spinning, life (not necessarily in that order). Hiredhands.ca will stay as it is. Eventually, as I figure out this new platform and templates, I’ll put a link to it in the sidebar.
Thanks for reading. Here are a couple of pictures of other “firsts” from this June 1.