Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting Brave With My Fiber, Craft Room Anticipation

I just didn't like the way my "Inquiry" fiber was spinning up. I tried spinning it straight from the end, from the fold, and even individual colors. Nothing was feeling right to me. No love for the yarn was felt. After a conversation with Sandi, I took out my Louet Jr. drumcarder and went to work. I was like the mad scientist with a "let's see how this works out" attitude. I tore off a piece of fiber, separated the black and purple section, drafted it to the almost falling apart point, put it through the drumcarder, and left it on. Then, I drafted out and put the orange, green, and pink through with the orange on top of the black side. A couple of turns and I took the whole thing off, drafted it out again and put the whole thing through one more time. Here's the results:
Inquiry blended 1 Inquiry blended 4 closeup

I'm very happy with the resulting batts which spun up into this yarn. It's 2.95 ounces, 148.5 yards of Navajo (chain) ply. The photos are prewash. It's drying now:

CJ Kopec Inquiry yarn 1 CJ Kopec Inquiry yarn 3

My plans are to spin enough of this to use in the yoke of a sweater. I'm thinking of the February Lady Sweater for the pattern. The other fiber I want to put with this is a black Coopworth Hogget/Alpaca Cria with a bit of Firestar blend. The "Inquiry" came out dark enough to not be glaring with the black, but, will be complimentary.

In other news, my basement craft room is almost ready for the big move in. Pat is building me a nice table the height of my kitchen island. I won't be bending over trying to dye or drum card this way. He's going to put a shop light right over the table so there will be better light than the current ceiling lights give. Pat wants to paint the floor before we actually put anything in the room. I plan to put an area rug on the floor since they are cement and cold on your feet in the winter. He also found a little white sheep wall plaque in a box of stuff that had belonged to his mom. It will have a place of honor on the wall above the table. Once the table and sinks are in place, I can bring the bins and stuff down. There is a kitchen table and chair set in the main basement room, as well as a t.v., stereo, treadmill, and exercise bike so I can keep myself busy while waiting for steamers/pots to "cook". There's also a rocking chair if I just want to sit and knit.

After moving everything that needs to go downstairs, the loom will hopefully fit in the upstairs craft room and I can clear out the living room. Right now, there is still a lot of stuff around it so the cats can't get under and play with the strings. They don't go in the craft room so this will not be an issue after.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Scary Start to My Weekend, and Taking Stock of Projects

I'm still nervous and won't leave the house empty for a while. As Pat was getting ready to leave for work Friday, we smelled something burning. We has an electrical fire in the basement. Luckily he got to the circuit box before actual flames came out of the box. The insulation is all melted from the wires and flames were eminent when he got to the box. Thank God he hadn't left for work yet. He disconnected the faulty wires and circuit, spending the better portion of the evening and all weekend rewiring the hot water tank. Everything is safe now, but, we still want to have an electrician come in to double check it. This was the weekend of my Ocean State Knitting and Crochet Guild's retreat. I was going to go for the day today, but, decided not to due to other commitments at this time. Now, I'm glad I decided this since I wouldn't have been able to go.

I decided to take stock of all my UFOs, on needles, hooks, and bobbins.

My Sonata still has the "Inquiry" fiber for CJKopec's Spin A Long "Put Your Twist On It". And my Minstrel still has the Merino on it for a sweater. I need to get the Inquiry done so I can get back to the Coopworth for my other sweater. When these three fibers are done, I need to finish my "Bahhhrahhccuda" color fiber from DkKnits and knit up some socks. I'm going to be the last one done with them, but, that's o.k. Of course that lateness doesn't compare to the wool singles and alpaca singles I spun last May and never plied together. They are definitely on the to do list next. And, then there is the other "Pie Toss" braid of roving from Spunky I need to spin and Navajo so I can make socks with that as well. The only other fiber needing attention is the last little bit of Rambouillet I was spinning as lace weight. I took a "break" from it since I had spent almost 4 months spinning with this 8 ounces of fiber. The last 2 ounces are calling me.

I'm also working on a sock, using a technique I had learned from Sarah. The whole sock is worked on a 12 inch circular needle, except for the heel flap and gusset. Once you get that part in, you go back to the circular to finish the foot. It's coming out nice and I like not having to fiddle with needles or loops. It was a bit of a learning curve to work with the small circs at first. Now, it's mindless. I'm just knitting a plain vanilla sock in some variegated yarn. The cuff was worked on size 2 and the rest of the sock on size 1. I want to be able to turn the cuff over the sock when they are worn.

I also pulled out some of the rows on the Dragon Scale Shawl to re-knit for the third time. Let's hope the third time is the charm and I can call this a FO instead of a WIP soon.

There are a couple of scarves I started in the bin as well as a lonely Butterfly Sock waiting for it's mate. That's it. Not as bad as I thought. I did frog a couple of projects along the way. The bin is next to the loom so I can just grab a project and work on it while sitting in the living room with the t.v. or computer on.

Oh, and the 5 bins of fleece I had in my craft room are now living in the cedar closet in the basement. I was surprised to find the closet was much smaller than I remembered. You can still step into it, but, it's not as deep as I thought. I also put some comforters and bedding in there as well. At least I'm finally getting to use it for it's intended use.

O.K. I'm off to cook some chicken for tomorrow. Once it's in the oven, I can work on the sock or shawl some more......

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Fiber Goodies and News

In the last post I mentioned CJKopec's Spin-A-Long on Ravelry. I've decided to just spin the fiber from the end and see what I get from it. The plan is to possibly use it in the yoke of a sweater. This is "Inquiry":

CJKopec Inquiry 2 March SAL (2)

Other good news is in regards to the Coopworth fiber for my sweater spinning. Sandi met me today and the other pound of fiber came home with me. Yay! Here's some pictures of the yarn so far:

Sandispins Coopworth 1 Sandispins Coopworth 2

And this closeup:

Sandispins Coopworth 4 closeup

Between these two things, and DkKnits SAL/KAL with her fiber club, and her sock club, I'm so busy trying to keep up, and, I haven't really knit on anything else. With one exception. I did manage to finish a hat today while sitting at Weight Watchers waiting for the meeting to begin.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spinning Away the Hours

This past Friday evening was the start of the plying for my Coopworth sweater yarn. I managed to ply the entire 6 1/2 bobbins by Sunday night. The result was 1.5 pounds and 996 yards of worsted weight yarn. I now need to pick up another pound of this lovely fiber from Sandi tomorrow. I don't know where my head was the night I bought the fiber. I know I need between 2 1/2 to 3 pounds to make a sweater to cover my fluffy body. The diet is going well, but, not that well. I know I won't fit into a size large or extra large sweater. Besides, I like them loose and comfy not body forming.

In today's mail, was the fiber for CJKopec's Spin-A-Long. I might start that tonight and see how it looks. Options for spinning are to just grab an end and go for it or tear of sections and spin from the fold. The possibility is a single of each and then ply them together for a different look. I don't know yet.

Well, I'm off to toss the clothes in the washer and dryer. It's the tale of the never ending laundry...........

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Snowy Days, Busy Hands, and Sock Woes

March definitely roared in like a lion this year. With the major snow storm last Sunday and Monday, the wheels and needles were very busy.

The Coopworth has almost all the singles spun. I'm finishing up bobbin 6 and don't think I have enough for a full bobbin 7. After switching to the jumbo flyer, I'll ply bobbins 1 and 4 together to see how much yardage I have and calculate how much more fiber i need to buy from Sandi. I'm estimating I should have about 1200 yards when these singles are all plyed. It might be enough for the sweater, but, I'm a plus size girl, so think I need a bit more.

Last Saturday was the monthly Spin In at Sue's shop. I decided to take Millie Minstrel for a change and worked on the Merino for the other sweater. That bobbin is now off the wheel and another started. At this rate I might have 2 sweater's worth of yarn before long. I'm not too worried about getting this one finished though. After all, I started spinning it in February 2008.

The hat is almost ready for decreasing and then that WIP will be an FO. It's coming out really nice. I like the way the natural shading of the fiber shows up in the knitting.

I have sad news to report. There are 2 wounded socks in my house. They are the first to need repair. I have a hole in one where it was caught on something. The other one has some stitches wearing thin and about to break. I made both pairs about 3 years ago, so I shouldn't be surprised they are showing some wear now. For now, they are in the mending basket waiting for me to salvage them.

The Dragon Scale Shawl has been calling to me to finish it. The mistake still looks wrong to me even though I pulled out 20 rows and put them back in. I need to pull them out again and knit it again. This is aggravating since I'm on the last of it. I just need to do the garter stitch rows and it's finished. But, it's calling me, so I guess I will be working on it again soon just to finish it.

The sun is shining even though it's cold. Enjoy the day and I'll post again soon.