Category Archives: spinning

My Olympics

Every two years there is a frenzy on Ravelry to organize or join an Olympics “team” and participate by choosing projects to knit. Remember when the US Olympic Committee brought down the hammer on Ravelry to stop calling this event “Ravelympics”? Seriously.  Remember how demoralizing it was to serious Olympic athletes that knitters were co-opting the Olympics name? No, neither do I.  End of rant.

Anyway, though I love a bandwagon as much as the next knitter, I’m not organized enough to join a team. Plus I don’t need any added pressure when I’m knitting.  So I didn’t join any Ravelry team, but I did choose some projects to knit while I watched many happy hours of cross-country skiing and speed skating and ice dancing. I love the Winter Olympics.

Here’s what I completed (I seemed to need some sort of colorwork fix):
Snowflake Hat by Jenny Kostka (heavily modified – I basically just used the snowflake chart and threw it on a Shrek Hat. 80 sts on a #7 needle, Cascade 220 worsted weight wool. But it is a beautiful simple pattern, Jenny! I love grey and yellow almost as much as I love grey and red):

Speaking of grey, I also love grey and grey! This is Little Scallops Hat by Maria Carlander. The pattern is in Swedish, but there’s an English translation at the bottom of the page.  It’s written as a child’s hat, but once again, I really just threw the colorwork chart (which I am cuckoo-crazy about!) on a Shrek Hat. 80 sts on a #7 needle, more Cascade 220.

I love love LURVE this sock yarn – it’s Schoeller +Stahl Limbo Color, sadly discontinued. It’s a beefy dk-weight sock yarn that knits up in these amazing wide stripes that please me. 44 sts on #4 needle, magic-looped. The pattern is my Easy Toe-Up Sock pattern, which not coincidentally, is my go-to sock pattern.
I used up some handspun! This is Age of Brass and Steam, one of my alltime favorite shawl patterns (this is my third go-around), using Painted Tiger silk and merino fiber which I spun carried with a strand of sparkly white KidSilk Haze.  This isn’t blocked (I am still not 100% confident about blocking KSH and also yarn that has a heavy silk content) and is also not a great photo. But you get the idea.
I’m tired of buying dumb pillows! It came to me like a lightning bolt (DOH!) that I could use my own pattern, the Easy Mosaic Pillow, to make some nice colorful new pillows for our couch. I used some leftover bulky weight big box yarn. I love how it turned out. Cat is optional.

Finally, there is one project that I specifically started for the Olympics, which I am still working on (and will probably not be done until the next Olympics). This is Welsh Blanket Boomerang – a 45-row mosaic pattern shawl triangle in fingering weight yarn. The green is handspun fiber of unknown origin (well, I spun it, but I don’t know what the fiber is); the blue is Ball and Skein fingering. It will be gorgeous when it’s done, but it’s slow knitting.  Also, mosaic knitting needs to be blocked with a heavy hand, so it bothers me that it’s so scrunchy and not-beautiful as I knit it. I want to steam-iron it as I go, but that is the road to Crazy Town. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:
welsh_blanket_mediumHere’s what mine looks like:
image_medium2I’m always sad when the Olympics end, especially the WInter Olympics. It was nice to have an excuse to start a billion new projects, and it was nice to knit them while watching all the skiing and skating and shooting.


Take Care of That Arm!

Well, I overdid the holiday knitting and my tendinitis has flared up again. (Go here for a great tutorial on taking care of your arm.) So no knitting for now, which is nearly unsupportable. I cannot sit and watch tv and not do something. And I have a slew of new pattern ideas, but I can’t knit up samples or swatches.

End of whining. Ironically, since my New Year’s not-resolution was to knit up more handspun, I’ve found that spinning does not flare up the tendinitis. So I’ve been spinning up the rest of my fiber stash. Here’s the result:

Painted Tiger Club – can’t find label – what fiber? 2 ply – will become some sort of small shawly thing
100% wool from Mountain Fiber Folk
Wool/mohair from Mountain Fiber Folk plied with the first yarn- very dye-heavy – had to have a lot of baths before the dye ran out
Wool/alpaca/silk from MFF plied with the first yarn – not quite as vibrant yellow in real life

These three will become a manly scarf – I’m thinking a knit2, purl2 rib with the first brown-y yarn as the main color and then the red and yellow (and green – still on the wheel) as big stripes – sort of Hudson’s Bay Blanket look.  Someday I will knit again and make this mighty scarf!

And now, for a gratuitous cat picture:

Jack in a box. Really.

Not A New Year’s Resolution!

I like the idea of New Year’s and fresh starts and throwing off the bad habits of the old year. But I also think we set ourselves up to fail if we start making resolutions. So instead of a resolution, I’m making a, shall we say, re-energization. And it’s going to start with the 12 billion skeins of handspun that I’ve spun and done nothing with.

I don’t know many other spinners, so I don’t know if we all do the same thing, but when I get a bump of fiber, I have a vague notion of what I want to do with it (weight, fractal, n-ply, etc) and spin it accordingly. Then I wash it and thwack it and skein it up and put it in my yarn cabinet, and that’s the end of it. The whole act of spinning it feels like a finished project to me.

I’ve knit exactly 3 things with my handspun. This cat (the one in front – ha!), for a friend who was going through chemotherapy:

I’m adorable!

These mitts, for a spinners’ swap on Ravelry (last year):

I look better on hands than on a windowsill.

And this scarf, for a spinners’ swap on Ravelry (this year):

I need to be blocked!

I counted, and I have 36 skeins of handspun sitting in my yarn cabinet! Shameful! So as part of my re-energization, I wound all of those skeins into center-pull balls, so they’ll be ready for me to knit up. Here’s the chaos of yesterday:

All wound up with someplace to go! Look how pretty!

It shouldn’t be that hard to find a nice pattern for these. I’m thinking maybe (MAYBE) I’ll try to use one handspun each month. Is that too resolution-y? We’ll see.