More yarn and some knits

I’ve spent the easter weekend up north at my parent’s and had a lovely time as you can see!

Strandkorb2

We had some rain but over all the weather was quite nice if a bit nippy (hence the layers!).

Poldi

My parents have a Strandkorb (the leo.org translation of roof wicker beach chair is a bit over the top) in their garden and our dog Poldi is convinced it’s his but we negotiated to share it – meaning I was granted a small space squashed to the side of the chair.

Tree

It was lovely in the sun and I spent the afternoon happily knitting on my Curiosities Cardigan. Which brings me to part two of the Great Yarn and Knits Catch-up!

Let’s start with the cardigan. I’m using the pile of Hello Yarn Fiber ‘Curiosities’ I spun up during the last Tour de Fleece. I had 20 oz which came to about 1080 meters of a DKish yarn.

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This is the first cardigan I’ve knit without a pattern. I made a swatch and fiddled with the numbers and then kept my fingers crossed that I had managed to put the Raglan markers in the right place (which I did, thankfully).

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The colours are a bit paler than what I usually wear but so far I like it! I’m actually further along than the picture above shows and have just about started in on the increase part of the waist shaping. So far I’m still only into the third skein so I should be fine with three-quarter length sleeves. I can’t wait to wear this!

Apart from the cardigan I’ve finally finished a shawl I’ve been knitting for some time now. There seems to be a theme here, because for this I used handspun as well – the BFL from Wildcraft I wrote about in my last post.

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This was my first try at spinning a semi-woolen yarn (worsted prep + wonky backward draw with lots of twist) and the resulting yarn and the texture of the shawl is airy and quite lovely. The pattern is Steven West’s Boneyard Shawl which is a nice simple knit – perfect telly knitting.

I’m working from home today and it’s another day of course preparation and collecting data for my dissertation. Might throw some knitting in… 🙂

 

Yarn, glorious yarn! (part 1)

So, I’ve finally managed to catch up with the blog posts in my google reader inbox and writing a few comments. The new semester started yesterday and I’m a bit overwhelmed by balancing dissertation work and ‘work- work’ (i.e. teaching three courses). Today I admitted defeat around noon as I seem unable to concentrate on anything. I’m still a bit rattled after a fierce migraine attack on Saturday which caught me right in the middle of the university library. I had to take a cab back to my flat which is on the other side of town. The rest of Saturday mostly took place in my bed. But enough of the bad stuff!

I realized I have a huge backlog of finished handspun I haven’t shown you yet,  mostly because of the battery problem I mentioned in my last post. Since I also have one Finished Object and another WIP to show I decided to make two posts out of it. So, let’s get started with the yarn!

#1: Hello Yarn Cauldron
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Stats:

Fibre: Polwarth

chain-plyed; ca. 85m/4 oz; Bulky weight

I had this on my wheel for the better part of three months (I think I pulled the fibre out of the stash around the end of october 2011) and only finished it in January. This is the much coveted Hello Yarn Club fibre which I scored on a destash and I have a nother 4 oz under my bed. It’s destined to become a huge, fluffy cowl for next winter and I spun it fairly thick and then chain-plyed it so it came out at about chunky weight (no idea how much wpi).

#2: Wildcraft/SpotSpins Fibre Calendula Shades

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Since this yarn will also feature in my second post I’ll keep it short. The fibre is an oatmeal BFL overdyed with a dark golden orange and darker browns. This was my first attempt at a woolen spun yarn albeit with a worsted fibre preparation. Nevertheless, the resulting yarn is very light and fluffy and looks very different from my usual handspun.
It’s a heavy fingering weight and I got about 388 meters out of 4 oz.

#3: Southern Cross December ’11 Fiber Club Oceanic

oceanic1

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Stats:
Fibre: BFL /Silk
2 ply, light DK weight
213m/4 oz

This BFL/Silk mix spun like butter or, well, like silk! It also went incredibly fast, I think it took me just one weekend to spin, ply and finish the yarn. The skein feels very heavy and the yarn is smooth and lovely. I’m totally in love!

#4: Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber Tossed Salad

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Stats:
Fiber: Karaoke (50% fine wool/50%Soy Silk)
2 ply
91, 5m / 2 oz

This was the luxury club offering last year and something of a wild card for me. It was a bit hard to spin because the Soy Silk tended to stick together in chunks but the finished yarn is great. The colour is fresh but not too loud and the yarn almost feels like cotton.
So, last one for today:

#5: Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber Mordor

mordor3

mordor5

Stats:
Fibre: Corriedale
 chain-plyed
heavy DK weight; 177m/4 oz

I had planned to spin this for socks but decided against it. Not sure what I’ll do with it as the colour would look a bit odd with my wardrobe.
So, this is it for today. As you can see, I’ve got my spinning mojo back and there’s more to see. I’ll return soon with the rest of the lot – some more yarn and a bit of knitting, too.

FO: Tea Leaves Cardigan

It’s done! And I can’t believe it only took me about seven weeks to knit this!

tealeaves4Stats:
Pattern: Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: New Lanark DK
Needles: 3 mm/3,5 mm

I’ve wanted to knit this cardigan for a long time but somehow never got around to actually doing it. Now it’s finished I’ve worn it almost constantly since last Monday and it fits well. Unfortunately I think this particular shape doesn’t look very flattering on my figure; there’s something about the roundness of the shoulders which results from the yoke that make me look too… bulky. I think I need more straight lines to counteract the more curvaceous parts of my body 😉

Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with this project and above all with the yarn. I used New Lanark DK in the blueberry colourway which has sat in my stash for years. I’ve loved working with the Donegal Silk Tweed on my Idlewood and their DK yarn is equally lovely. It’s a sheepy yarn with a slightly heathered look and it softened up quite a bit after a soak.

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I had to go out of town to look for the buttons and found those lovely kermit-green ones. They’re quite the eye catcher 🙂

So, that’s one sweater down for my 6 sweaters in 2012 challenge and I’ve started swatching for Kate Davies’s Deco. Keeping my fingers crossed I’ll manage to get gauge this time….

FO: Tantallon

Despite my plans to keep the number of WiPs small and finish my Tea Leaves Cardigan I couldn’t resist Tantallon. It’s another of Kate Davies’ Fair Isle hats and the pleasingly simple graphic peerie combination looked very appealing. Last year I ordered a pile of Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 2ply and had just the right colours for this pattern.

starmore1I swatched with the recommended colour selection but found the red a bit to loud for my taste. I used purple instead (Erica) and since I had ordered the wrong shade of green I substituted some leftover J&S 2 ply Jumper Weight.

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According to the pattern I should have cast on 125 stitches for the brim but I suspected this would turn out a bit too wide for my head I started out with only 110 stitches instead. To avoid doing any math to the pattern repeats I the increased 90 stitches up to the regular 200 needed for the full chart (all ravelled here).

Knitting this hat was a real pleasure and I managed to memorize the pattern fairly quickly. I learned something new as well: The pattern calls for a lining on the brim and I found a nifty provisional cast on on  YouTube (and directions on how to unravel it in the end :-)). I used some pink leftover merino lace-weight for the brim lining and this makes all the difference when its windy outside! My ears stay extra warm.

tantallon3Since I live on my own I had to ask my colleague to take a picture of me wearing the hat and he really got into it. He even climbed up onto the table in our office – must have been a sight for the people on the other side of the yard 🙂

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tantallon7We’ve had over two weeks of freezing temperatures here and so far Tantallon and the Sheep Heid got lots of wear.

I’m still knitting the Tea Leaves Cardigan – I’m on the second sleeve – but it is slow going and I find myself a bit unwilling to work on it…

Now, back to the spinning wheel – I’ve nearly finished clearing off some Polwarth abandoned there last October… I really need to make a dent in my fibre stash!

FO: Sheep Heid

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Ravelry tells me I finished this hat in December 2011 but I haven’t found the time to post and sort the pictures until now.
I’ve become a bit of an addict to Kate Davies’ patterns and when she published her new hat design back in october I couldn’t resist. Also, the internet makes this kind of thing almost too easy and so I bought pattern and wool with only a few clicks. I’ve ordered wool from Jamieson’s & Smith before and I can very much recommend their shop and, above all, their wool. There’s nothing like real Shetland wool for stranded colour work (although some Aade Long, Isager and the Tweed yarns from Rowan work as well). The sheep heid is designed with a colour scheme that makes use of the natural colours Shetland wool comes in and calls for J & S Shetland Supreme Jumper weight yarn. It’s a bit thicker than their regular jumper weight and it feels more ‘sheepy’. It also still smelled like sheep when I pulled it out of its soak – lovely!

009

I’m a slow knitter when it comes to colour work because I knit with one strand in each hand and throwing the yarn is still a bit awkward for me. While I was knitting this I couldn’t resist snapping pictures of the evolving sheep with my camera phone and sending them to various people.

009Since we haven’t had a real winter so far I didn’t have much opportunity to wear my hat but yesterday the temperatures finally dropped a bit. Et voilá: Sheep Heid (albeit a bit blurry) in action!

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After I finished this project in December I was almost sad I couldn’t continue knitting those adorable sheep – and I didn’t need a second identical hat. Fortunately, Kate Davies fixed this for me and published the rams and yowes blanket which makes use of those ewes and rams AND the same gorgeous yarn. I have ordered more Shetland Supreme from J & S to top up my leftovers…

Idlewood

Well, since my deadline for the dissertation (aka Deadline of Doom) is always on my mind I haven’t been idle (much) , both concerning work and knitting. Let’s not talk about the 2 oz of Hello Yarn Cauldron that have been sitting on my wheel since October last year…. Now, I won’t bore you with the details of my master plan to meet the DoD – if you can understand German and want to have a look, go here – but it amounts to a lot of work taking up a lot of time. Despite this I managed to finish my rust-red Idlewood nearly two weeks ago. I’ve given up on waiting for enough light to take a decent picture so you have to squint a bit.

idlewood5I’m really pleased with the fit and it was well worth ripping back almost all the body and the first sleeve.

It’s dry now after a much-needed soak and the collar has a lot more drape. Unfortunately, it’s still too dark to take a picture…
I used New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed Aran in a rusty-red with beautiful blue flecks. It’s a slightly heavier Aran. This may be my new favourite yarn, it’s reasonably priced, comes in beautiful colours and has an awesome stitch definition. It’s also very sturdy – even the strain of ripping back the body didn’t affect the yarn in any way. At first the Donegal Silk Tweed felt a bit scratchy but it softened up nicely after the soak. The heather mixtures already start out a bit softer.
So, great yarn, great colour and a sweater that finally fits. Success!

FO: 28thirty or superwash woes

It’s Friday and I’ve realized that I’ve been away from the blog for a longish time. Again. So, let me guide you into the weekend with a tale of horror and a semi-happy ending…

I’ve decided to never knit a sweater with superwash wool.ever.again. Here’s why…

You remember the sweater I mentioned in my last post? 28thirty in olive-green with stunning purple buttons? Yes, well, there’s a reason this FO didn’t make it into its very own post until now.

karisma_oliv

I used Drops Karisma Superwash in a lovely olive green. The yarn felt nice and smooth and had a slight sheen to it. In my mind, superwash until now equaled a yarn not prone to pilling and felting. Well, I was right about the not felting bit which meant I had to weave in a gazillion of ends – no spit splicing when attaching a new ball of yarn.
Despite this, everything looked fine before the soak. I found some lovely purple buttons, attached them and gave the sweater a bath.

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It soaked, I pinned it and left it to dry. I unpinned it and tried it on and… (insert a horrified gasp here) realised it had grown. Not so much that I can’t wear it for fear of looking like I clad myself in a tent but still to big.

Now, I did knit a swatch and even washed it. I got gauge and the fabric looked and felt sturdy and tight. After the soak it has a lot more (unwanted) drape which means the collar won’t stay up.
See for yourself…

28thrirty

It is wearable but I fear this won’t be one of the knitted items that last for life; I can already see the first fuzz and pilling. Oh well, I’ll stay away from superwash wool and the two other projects close to completion both use nice and sturdy non-superwash wool!
So, it’s back to work now for a few more hours. I’ll be back with a WIP roundup and hopefully some Christmas baking to show!

The talking ape*

autumn2

You know, sometimes I think it would be nice to be an ape (Maybe in that wood above…). Nothing to do but eat, play, sleep and interact with my social circle of fellow apes (Zoologists, please don’t hit me). Nothing to do with seminars, students and dissertations at all. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Last week was, well, stressful. I finally have a deadline for my PhD which gives me under two years to finish my research, write AND defend the damn thing. That doesn’t sound too bad and it’s kind of nice to know everything will be over by September 2013 but I will be teaching an average of three classes every semester as well. So, last week was the first taste of what life will be like for the next two years and I’ve never been more grateful for my weekend!

It’s not all bad and feeling like I accomplished something every day is really great.

Also, there were some things waiting for me at home after a long day in the office that cheered me up:

A surprisingly fast parcel from Virtual Yarns – I basically ordered two colour palettes for Fair Isles hats (couldn’t resist). Beautiful yarn!

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Wovember tweed batches made by Felicity – I have two more in a nice green tweed which I am wearing now.

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In knitting news I’ve finished my 28thirty cardigan for some time now and last week I sewed on the buttons. Pardon the gloomy picture! I gave it a good soak yesterday and now it’s drying on my living room carpet. It’s still way too warm to wear it anyway…

green1

After that I decided I could use a new pullover and there was a fortunate meeting of a beautiful yarn and a gorgeous pattern. I.e., I cast on for Idlewood using New Lanark Donegal Silk Tween Aran in ‘Rust’.  I’m separating body and sleeves soon and so far I really like knitting this. Straightforward stockinette stitch and raglan technique makes for nice mindless knitting. I’ll probably make this shorter than the pattern suggests because I just don’t have the hips for a tunic… Keeping my fingers crossed we will get an actual winter so I can wear it!

idlewood1

*Now, what about the talking ape? Simply put, I needed a title. I’m crap with blog titles and ‘The talking ape’  is the title of a book that’s sitting on my desk right next to my display. 

There’s a change in the air…

Remember my recent spinning spree? Well, after finishing the Southern Cross fibre I immediately dived back into my stash and fished out another bag of fibre.

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Spun the first bobbin last week…

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… and finished plying on Thursday.
I really like it!

after_wash

The details:
Spunky Eclectic Club fibre
Colour: Change
Fiber: Falkland
Worsted weight, 132 m/4 oz

detail

This is my first time spinning Falkland and I loved it. It’s not quite as slippery as Merino but equally soft. I couldn’t resist casting on for a modified Eternity Scarf yesterday – the weather has finally turned autumnal (if only for a short while, weather forecast just now said something about 20 ° Celsius on Monday 😦 ) No pictures yet, it’s still to dark outside so you’ll have to wait for the FO.

Speaking of changes, I’ve managed a good work flow this week and got a lot of things done (even the dishes 😉 ) so my master plan seems to do the job! As you can see, it even had an impact on my blogging – three posts in one week. I’m pleased!

Time to finish my tea and get the day started! Have a nice weekend!

Sugar, for a change…*

So, finally a Finished Object to show! Well, not so much an object but finished yarn 🙂

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Although I got into the Southern Cross Fiber Club some months ago, this is the first of those lovely bags of fluff I cracked.

The stats:
Southern Cross Club August ’11 ‘Sugar & Spice
3.9 oz Superwash Merino
100 m /3.9 oz, heavy Aran weight
n-plyed

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I am very impressed by the fibre preparation, I only opened the top up a bit and it spun like butter.
And, despite the crazy 28 °Celsius the radio weather forecast just announced for today, I’m determined to knit this into either a hat or a cowl. Autumn starts on Tuesday, Yay!

Success is a great motivator, so I immediately fished a bag of Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club out of my stash.

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This is Spunky Eclectic Falkland ‘Change’ and since I’d like to get a bit more yardage out of this I’m spinning for an Aran weight  2 ply.
Looking good, so far:

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I made some progress on the Celery Cardigan as well, had to rip back a bit and finished the first sleeve. I’ll try to take a picture at the weekend. Now I have to go and pack for said weekend which I’m spending at my parent’s up at the coast. See U!

* I take my tea with honey and milk, thank you! (Sugar is a last resort if I run out of honey on a Sunday!)