Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spinning Experiment

I got a package the other day. It was some wool I bought from Skeinwinder 123 on Etsy. It is so nice and pretty.

This one is BFL in a colorway called Rainbow Soup.

And this one is merino in the colorway Midnight Zephyr (I like these names).

My original plan when I bought them was to simply spin the two together into a 2-ply. Probably sock weight or worsted weight. But when I laid the two big braids or wool next to each other I was starting to have doubts about whether I'd like the result.
Time to spin and swatch...
It was super overcast when I took these photos so the colors are weird but you can at least get an idea...

The 1st swatch (on the left) is a single of each wool spun in to a 2-ply yarn. It's okay but I don't love it.

The middle swatch is a 2-ply made with one strand of the Rainbow Soup BFL and one strand of wool in a Lemon-Lime color. This one looked really cool as yarn but when I knit it up I really didn't like the resulting fabric. Too much contrast.

And lastly, the swatch on the right, one strand of the Rainbow BFL Navajo-plied (making it a 3-ply yarn). This one was the winner! This method involves spinning one extra thin yarn and then sort of hand crocheting it. It takes quite a bit longer that a normal 2-ply, which explains why this swatch is so much smaller, but the result is that you get to see more crisp color transitions.

So I spun and spun and spun and I'm not done yet but here's a taste of the prettiness.

See how certain colors really pop? Like the yellow and red? That's why navajo-plying is so neat. You really get to see those colors.
I think this yarn might end up as a pair of mittens. And I'll think of something to do with that big lump of merino later.
Do you spin yarn? Do you like reading about the process I use to decide what I make? Let me know what you think!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The View From Here, Part II

For the second time this week I looked down to realize that my knitting matched my outfit. I think that's kinda neat.

I'm using some hand spun that I had forgotten about. I think it's turning into a little camera case. It's pretty cute, huh?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The First One

I actually finished knitting my Estelle cardigan about... umm... a month ago?... At least three weeks ago. But it took forever for me to finally block it. And then it took a while for me to find buttons (I sewed on three sets of buttons before I was satisfied). And then Logan was out of town for a while... so there was no one I could ask to take photos of me wearing the sweater who I didn't think would laugh at me nerding around in a hand-knit sweater in the middle of August....

Well, here it is, my first cardigan. And I like it.... I don't think I love it, but I do like it.
The suggested yarn for the pattern is Araucania Nature Wool and it just happened to be on sale on so I bought it (I got the all the yarn for this sweater for less than $30). And the yarn was okay for the most part but the first skein, used for the yoke of the cardigan, pooled like crazy and there are these big chunks of color that distract from the lace. And I know I should have "alternated skeins to avoid pooling" but well... I just didn't want to. So I didn't. And I guess I paid the price.

I was looking on Ravelry yesterday and seeing a lot of Estelles knit in lighter shades of yarn in solid colors and the lace seems to stand out a lot more. If I were to knit this one again I would do that. I'd knit it in a solid yarn in a lighter shade. Maybe in a cotton blend next spring... with short sleeves... hmm...
One more little issue I have is that the armpits feel low. You might notice that in these photos that my arms look a little short? That's why. Oh well.

I would still recommend this pattern. I really would.
I think a more experienced knitter would have chosen a better yarn, and measured herself, and knit a better sweater. But this was definitely a learning experience. And, who knows, I might surprise myself and end up wearing it a lot... I'll let you know.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunset Stitchery

I forgot to show you something I bought in Vermont last month; this crazy awesome 'Sunset Stitchery' embroidery kit. The kit is called 'Indian Chief' and I'm not quite sure how old it is (I'm guessing 70's?) but it looks like all the supplies are still here. It's basically like a paint-by-numbers but with yarn instead of paint.

I opened the kit as soon as I got back to Brooklyn and was going to start stitching right away but after putting the fabric in the hoop I paused... The printed fabric looked really cool with the un-embroidered image in shades of tan on beige. So yeah, I'm still not quite sure what I want to do. For now it's just hanging up in the craft room... waiting for me to decide.
What do you think?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The View From Here

I cast on for a new sweater last night. I'll tell you more about it later. I was working on it outside today and thought the yarn looked pretty with my dress. Knitting projects should usually coordinate with what you're wearing I think... if you want to be classy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crochet Weekend

For a long time, I didn't really want to learn crochet. I didn't like the way it felt to hold that little hook and I also thought that knit fabric was prettier than crocheted fabric. I enjoyed (and still do enjoy) working on my giant granny square blanket but I didn't have a lot of desire to learn any other crochet methods.
Lately, though, I've been giving crochet another chance. There are some really cool things about crochet; you can get a lot more sculptural, because there is only one "live" stitch, and you can do a lot of free form stuff.
This weekend I have been crocheting.
I have been making some big stuff with this giant ball of yarn. I'll probably show you what I'm making with this tomorrow. Also, the yarn ball is way bigger than it looks in this photo... do I have giant hands?

I have also been crocheting some dainty, delicate stuff.

These necklaces are vintage faux pearls with crocheted cotton threads. I really like how they've turned out and I've got plans for more... It has been so rewarding to work with materials and techniques I'm totally unaccustomed to and see such a lovely result.
These necklaces are available for sale at Treehouse. You should swing by!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Rabbit from Outer Space

Siri and I have been talking recently about the possibility of me producing some sort of knit installation on the front grate of the shop in a sort of knit graffiti type of way.
I decided to try to get some inspiration. Look at what I stumbled on during my google quest.

It's a 200 foot long pink knit rabbit with guts spilling out to make it seem as if it was dropped from space... Need I say more? You can read more about it here. It's really pretty amazing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zoe and 'Zza

I made some stuff today.
I finished knitting a Zoe. It's a really simple little shawl that shows off Noro or other self-striping yarn. I used 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Lite on size 7 circulars and finished this project in just a few days. This might end up as a Christmas present for someone... we'll see.

I hope you'll excuse the cheesy photo. It's after midnight, 80 degrees, and I'm trying to tilt my head so you can't see my giant zit. You can also see that I used the kitchen scissors to hack off my bangs a couple nights ago...

The other thing I made today was pizza! Logan and I have been talking about making pizza from scratch for a while and it was awesome to finally do it. To be fair, Logan did do most of the hard stuff, especially making the dough. We used this recipe for making the dough and for general guidance. The toppings we used were fresh basil, black olives, and sautéed onions. So good! I seriously recommend making pizza from scratch if you haven't done it before, it's super fun and rewarding.