Location: Crescent City, California, United States

I love to make things with my hands. My current passions are knitting and spinning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Final Countdown Has Begun

My oldest son is getting married on 09-08-07. That's only 11 days away.......Mom is just a little excited/stressed. I can't imagine how stressed/harried I would be if I was the mother of the bride. I am happy that I have been able to teach my daughter-in-law-to-be how to knit, and have started teaching her how to quilt. I'm also happy that she has told people that she "loves" her mother-in-law! What a gift. I hope she still feels that way in 5 years.
Anyhoo, I have had a little trouble concentrating on knitting lately. I did get to go to a local spinning club last Friday. I had a bag of wool that looks like this........
It isn't especially clean, and still has a fair amount of vegetable matter in it. One of the ladies in the group was able to help me use a carder that I had borrowed, and these are the results........

It took me about 3 1/2 hours to card this much with a drum carder. Of course I spent a fair amount of time picking out hay and "stuff" and pulling the fibers apart a little bit before I ran them through the carder. When I was done, my hands were very soft. I will definitely have to wash this wool before I knit it!

This is my first real attempt at spinning and plying yarn all by myself. What a curly-que mess!! I guess everyone has to start somewhere. I still need to soak it in water and balance it. I think that is the correct term. Isn't it amazing how each hobby, sport, profession, etc. has it's own lingo and terms that it uses? I had no idea that there was an "orifice" on a spinning wheel!
This is the Kiwi wheel by Ashford that I have borrowed/rented to see if this is what I want to get. I think I like the double treadle better that the single. I obviously have a little ways to go, but I feel like I have bettter control of starting and stopping the wheel with the double treadle.

I'm feeling more comfortable with drafting the roving and keeping the wheel going at the same time. This yarn is alot smoother on the spindle than my first attempt.

One of my goals is to be able to spin this pencil roving that I bought at the Black Sheep Gathering in June 2006, into sock yarn, and then knit a pair of socks out of it. I think it will make a very colorful pair of socks! I am really fascinated with the whole process of taking some kind of fiber in it's raw state, processing it, and turning it into something to wear or use in your home. (yes, I know the pencil roving isn't in it's raw state) With soo many things available to us to buy ready-made, and so many women working outside the home, I think our culture has lost it's appreciation for things that are made at home.
I don't know if I will get back to the computer or knitting before 9-8-07, but I will try.

Happy crafting and creating!


Monday, August 13, 2007

I "Got 'er done"

Yes, the Arwen Cardigan is finally done. Hurrah!! I "Got 'er done" on Thursday 8-9-07, and I'm so happy, yeah, I'm sooo happy!! I love the yarn I used- it is so soft. I love the color - one of my favorites. I like having the hood. Okay, the specs.............

YARN: Debbie Bliss, cashmerino aran, 14 skeins, color #24.
PATTERN: A Cardigan for Arwen, Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.
NEEDLES: U.S. Size 7 and 8 Addi Turbo circulars.
Started Jan. 2007, finished August 9, 2007 (didn't work on the sweater from the 1st week of June through Aug. 4th).

If I were to ever knit another sweater like this, I think the only changes I would make would be to add 3-4 inches to the length, and maybe add an inch to the upper arm circumference. I don't think I will mind that it doesn't have any buttons, since I don't usually button my cardigans anyways. I really do feel a sense of accomplishment in finishing this sweater, and I really learned about cables (and how to fix them when you get them turned around!). I think this is a sweater my future daughter-in-law might like, hmmmm, maybe someday in the future. I know she would appreciate the work involved in it.

On Friday I met a friend at a gathering for spinners/knitters/weavers/crafty women. I had talked with my friend A about maybe taking a spinning class together "someday" after finding out that she has a spinning wheel and wanted to learn more about how to use it. She found out about this group that meets on Fridays, and that there was a woman that would be willing to share a little of her knowledge about spinning with us. Sally was very kind, patient and accomadating about sharing with us. I had played with a spinning wheel once in June when hubby and I went to Eugene, but I just couldn't get it to go in the right direction, or get the hang of drafting the fibers. After learning about our interest in spinning, Sally went back home and brought a Louet spinning wheel for me to practice with. After several attempts, I actually spun some yarn!!

Sally even let me take her wheel home with me so that I could practice some more. I was supposed to spin some yarn on a second bobbin so that I would then learn how to ply the yarn. Well, I got home and was so excited about learning something new, that I spun all the grey fiber onto one spindle. Ooops! Anyhoo, another spinner is going to come over after I get off work tomorrow. She has fiber from her lambs and alpacas and also sells and rents spinning wheels. Here we go... I love to learn new things! I also love the idea of making an item of clothing out of yarn that you spin yourself. I don't know if I am good enough with animals to actually raise the critters that I get the fiber from.

As you can see, I still need to practice getting the fiber to actually wind the correct way onto the bobbin. While I was browsing the internet, I found this great site with tutorials on spinning. If you are interested, go check out The Joy of Handspinning.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Just a little peek of progress.......

Okay, I might renege on what I said about being persistent in figuring out a pattern and trying to stick with a project to completion. I am not having fun with the grasshopper socks, but I will give it one more try... in a week or two. If I don't succeed, I think I will give myself a break and try a different pattern with that yarn. It is so pretty and soft with that little bit of silk added to it.

In the meantime, I made some good progress on a gift that I started knitting for a Christmas present. This project has been much more satisfying for me to work on, and I am almost done with the first of 3 big pieces. I'm knitting it for my mum, and since she picked out the pattern and the yarn it isn't too big of a secret. However, I don't think I will post big pictures of the progress until after I give it to her. Instead I will post little teaser pics, like this one!!!

I have also done some knitting on the feather and fan stole. Believe me that is one project that is going to take awhile. I think I had about 1,000 yards of yarn to knit it with. I don't know if I will use all of it, but I have used just about 1/2 of the skein.

I have also decided to resurrect my Arwen cardigan and work on finishing it. I was working on it great guns until our little anniversary trip in June, and then she was neglected as vacation and wedding plans for my eldest interfered. My other big hangup is that I am still a little scared about the blocking thing. I did get it blocked this past week, and plan on starting to sew the seems together starting tonight. I imagine it will take a little time to sew everything together. Wish me luck! I am trying to keep my self from casting on any new projects until I get some old projects done.

This should be an interesting week at work. We are doing at least 3 eight-hour days of computer training this week, possibly more. We are going to start charting on the computer when the patients come into the office. My concern is that it is very hard for me to sit for that long of a period at a time as my back starts hurting if I don't get to move around too much. The classroom/lecture/conference thing is kinda hard for me. Hopefully they will give us frequent breaks. In October, I'm going to a confrence in Atlanta for work. I'm excited about some of the lectures, and again I hope they give us frequent breaks!!