The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Hot Off the Wheel April 12, 2011

Filed under: spinning — Cailyn @ 11:42 am
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Not much going on here right now.  So here’s the pretty yarn I just spun last weekend.




This is the Hanks in the Hood batt that I tore into rolags in this post here.  It’s 3 oz, 50% merino, 50% bamboo.  I had trouble getting the right colors in the photos; the yarn is really a cool combination of grey-green and teal.




I spun this with a woolen long draw on my wheel, which gave me a nice poofy squishy yarn with great drape.  Very similar to the yarn I made in December, which was the point.  It varies between a DK and sport weight yarn and I think I’ve got about 80 yards of it.  I forgot to keep count of the turns around the niddy-noddy, so the yardage is a very rough estimate.


Did I mention that woolen long draw is fast?  I spun up the singles in just a few hours and plied in half the time.  But I like using worsted yarns better.  I think I’m going to spin up some worsted laceweight on my wheel next.


Bat, Bat, and Batt February 7, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Projects,spinning — Cailyn @ 4:26 pm
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This is a bat.



This is a bat.




And this is a batt.




A Hanks in the Hood batt, to be exact.  The beauty above is half merino and half bamboo.  The shiny light blue fibers are the bamboo; the greenish fibers are the merino. 

Batts are made by putting fibers through a drum carder.  The process is similar to hand carding but is less time-consuming because of the large surface area of the drum.  Carders can blend fibers or colors together or allow them to be layered. 


Batts can be intimidating.  When unfolded, a batt is a big (seriously big!) rectangle of combed fibers, completely unlike the wrist-thick snakes of roving or top that are so common.  There are lots of different ways to spin batts- for example, you can pick a corner and start spinning, or strip it into roving and spin it that way. 


Usually I buy strips of top and spin them worsted.  I really value stitch definition in my yarns, so I didn’t think I would ever want to spin woolen which is softer but lacks definition.  But I started to get interested after I bought a Russian spindle.  It’s physically impossible to use a worsted short draw on a supported spindle like that!  (Ask me how I know.)  Having searched all over Russia (story coming later) and finally getting a spindle, I really wanted to use it.  And to do that, I needed a carded fiber, ideally one in the form of rolags.  I would have liked to make my own (I have plenty of “experimenting merino”) but I don’t have any hand cards and those things are expensive!


Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh right, batts.  I took the plunge and bought a batt when I realized that I could make a batt into rolags and spin them with a woolen long draw.  Ironically, I didn’t use the batt on my Russian spindle.  I decided to use the batt to spin and knit Lowell’s grandmother a birthday hat.  (Not a party hat, just a hat given to her on her birthday.)  This sounds like a lovely idea, right?  Especially since I had never used rolags, never spun with a long backwards draw, only had two weeks to spin then ply and then knit the hat, and I was travelling for one of those weeks.


But I did it!  I spun half the batt, which was the same as the one above in every aspect except color, on my Cascade Mt. Baker spindle.  The spindle broke just as I finished the first ply, so I had to spin the second single on my Matchless.  Don’t worry, a little wood glue has fixed the spindle right as rain, plus I got two more spindles for Christmas.  I was shocked- I loved spinning long draw.  I loved the little rolags, even though I had to join a new one every few minutes.  Do you know something- spinning woolen is fast.  I mean, seriously fast.  I ate up rolags like they were chocolate truffles.  I was done spinning and then plying the 4 oz batt in just over a week, even including spindle malfunction and travelling.  I even got the two singles to match up in length with only a five inch difference!  I swear, this was a magic batt!


113_5365   113_5364


The yarn was beautiful.  It was soft and squishy, the drape was lovely, the bamboo made little shiny highlights, it was warm.  I was in love with this yarn and so was everyone else who touched it.  It was so nice that I’m kind of afraid to spin the other batt- what if it doesn’t come out as well?  Now, to be fair, the making of this yarn was not entirely without trouble.  I rolled the batt into rolags with the merino on the outside and the bamboo on the inside.  Often what would happen when I spun them is that the merino would pull off from the outside, leaving me at the end with a core of pure bamboo which was slippery and hard to spin long draw.  It also ruined the look I was going for, which was a mostly blended merino/bamboo yarn.  But, I still love how it turned out and, in retrospect, if I hadn’t been so stressed to finish in time, the bamboo wasn’t so bad.


Next post, I’ll show you how I made the batt into rolags as I prepare that blue batt up there to turn into a hopefully luscious yarn.


Oh, and here’s the finished product:




A simple beanie style hat with a garter brim and a wavy, lacy pattern.


IMAG0302  IMAG0305


In the one on the right, you can really see the long runs of bamboo, even though the color is all off.


Grandmother's 80th Birthday 2010-12-03 129

The happy recipient!


On the Road Again November 23, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 1:09 pm
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Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time for my yearly trek back to Virginia and gorge myself on tasty turkey, gravy, and apple pie.  Yum yum.  The downside, of course, is that it’s a five-hour flight to said turkey.  Not to mention the time waiting for the flight in the airport and on the tarmac.  So there has been careful planning about projects, as you can imagine.


First up, my plain sock for knitting while talking to family.  This was yarn that I dyed almost a year ago but never used because I thought it was too plain.  Recently, I re-skeined it and over-dyed part of it to make it have stripes.  The purple is the new part.  I also have some hand-dyed light brown for the cuffs, heels, and toes.  No matter how I take pictures of this yarn, the color never turns out right.  Trust me that the purple is more… purple in real life.  I’ve learned my lesson, though, and I’m only bringing enough to make one sock on the trip.  That should guarantee that I finish the sock, right?

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Next, I’m making a scarf for someone for Christmas. Malabrigo Worsted, in Loro barranquero.

102_4534      102_4817


This beautiful yarn will be a pair of cabled socks.  The Yarn Hollow Squish, Teal on Teal.

102_4617    102_4816


This merino/bamboo fiber that I bought at Weaving Works.  Only about an ounce; I just wanted enough to tell how the blend spins.  I dyed it myself with food coloring.  I’ll be spinning it on my new Mt. Baker spindle!

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And one last-minute addition, Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca DK in Spruce.  Project to be determined soon.



I’m not worried that I’m not bringing enough yarn.  I am worried, however, that the projects I have won’t be complicated enough to keep my interest.  After all, the flight back is an hour longer… Maybe I should bring a stitch dictionary just in case…


I win! October 27, 2009

As much as I appreciate Kif’s guest post the other day while I was… indisposed, it was very hard wrestling the laptop back from him.




Now that I have it back (I think I will pay for this ousting with a midnight hair-ball) I would like to share this with you:


102_4745    102_4746

That’s right, an entire completed Central Park Hoodie back!  With short-row shoulder shaping, every cable turned the right way, the right size and everything. I win! (…but I really shouldn’t say that in print until I’ve finished it, lest I anger the knitting gods again.)  I’m on to the left front now, just finished the ribbing for it.


In other news, I haven’t told you about my fun trip to Weaving Works.  I went there with my mom while she was visiting.  I hadn’t been there before, even though I’ve lived in the Seattle area for 6 years!  I don’t have any pictures of the inside, sadly, but I can describe it for you!


When you come inside, there’s a massive wall and shelves full of yarn like Noro, Lana Grossa, and Sirdar.  There’s a great selection.  And then there’s the back third of the store.  Fiber and thread, in bulk.  Undyed cotton, nylon, wool, bamboo, rayon and more in all different weights and then there’s the dyed selection of those threads!  And the fiber!  Silk, wool of different breeds, yak, mohair, hemp, even milk and Firestar; it’s enough to drive a spinner mad.  There’s pre-dyed wool for felting and spinning and tons of undyed/natural fiber for dying yourself.  Silk in hankies and in cocoons if you want to do the reeling.  And some blends of fibers that are just great.  Sadly, not even the prices helped me decide- all the fiber is really well priced!  After a lot of indecision and burying my hands in bins of fiber, I decided on a few things.

102_4753 About an ounce of 80% merino, 20% bamboo blend, undyed.  This one’s just for experimenting.  I love knitting with wool/bamboo blends so I’d like to see how it spins.
102_4752 2.5 ounces of pure, undyed Blue-Faced Leicester top.  It’s soooo soft.  I thought I’d dye it myself, something fun.  Of course now I can’t think of a good color combination; blue or purple or brown?  And I can’t decide if I want there to be subtle gradations, stripes, or just a gentle switching of shades as I spin.  Any ideas?
102_4751 About 2 ounces of a pre-dyed 70% merino/30% silk blend.  I can’t stop petting it, it’s so luscious!  I even braided the hank so that it looks all pretty in the photo (notice I didn’t do that for the others!)  They had a small sample spun up at the store and it was beautiful.  This is what I’m going to spin as soon as I finish the CPH.  And what am I going to spin it on, you ask?
102_4756102_4755 My brand new, top-whorl spindle from Cascade Spindle Co.  I love their spindles and they’re all inspired by mountains in the Cascades!  This one is Mt. Baker, which is north of me, and we went skiing there a few years back.   


The spindles are in the last part of the shop, with the spinning wheels, extra bobbins, niddy-noddys, and knitting needles.  Oh, and the books!!  So many shelves of books about anything to do with fiber.  This is my new favorite store.  It’s a good thing it’s not too close, otherwise I’d be overrun with fiber in no time!


Glass Slipper Socks August 21, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,patterns — Cailyn @ 1:51 pm
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Hey, the Fall 09 preview for Knotions is up!  And what’s this?  Is this one of my patterns there under “Steeped in History”?  Why, yes, I do believe it is!


knotions window 


Glass Slippers are top-down socks with elegant twisted stitches down the side of the leg and across the top of the foot. The twisted stitches are surrounded by moss stitch and stockinette. A cable needle is optional; the traditional way of working these tiny cables is without one. The toe has been modified to avoid grafting.


The full issue will be up next week, with more pictures and the pattern for free.  There’s some great projects in this issue- it’s humbling to be in such great company.  I’ll write more about my pattern here then.


Project Progress April 14, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 2:25 pm
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I just looked over at my “Project Progress” widget.  Yikes!  How did I end up with so many projects?!  Let’s see, I’ve got The Cardigan, which has stalled out a bit.  I haven’t really touched it in a while.  I’ve been telling myself that it’s because I have more important things to work on, but I fear that I might be getting bored.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood to knit so much stockinette right now.  The cardigan measures a whole seven inches.  That’s a lot more inches that I need to knit.  But I shall conquer it!… just not yet.



Next on the list is a pair of socks knit from Cherry Tree Hill’s Sockittome in the Loden colorway.  These socks are destined for a submission to a publication, so I can’t show you more than the yarn.  The yarn is a little stiff but I think it’ll soften up wonderfully after being washed.  It’s got good stitch definition and cables nicely.  I like it a lot and I think I’ll be adding Sockittome as a solid sock yarn to my yarn quiver.   As far as project progress, I just finished the gusset on the second sock, so not far to go on these!


102_4379The sock blank socks are the pure stockinette socks that I’ve been knitting since my trip to Virginia.  Top-down, short-row heel, standard toe.  They’re a great project for keeping the hands busy without paying attention.  I’m not exactly happy with the way the colors turned out.  I’m almost finished with the first sock- just have the toe left to do.  These socks are low on the priority list, really more of a back-up project.



Norman’s scarf is a project that my father-in-law requested while we were at Village Wools.  Sadly, this is the best picture of the scarf but not the best picture of the two of us.  But this is proof that even layman can’t go into a yarn store without being inspired!  He picked out three colors of Mirasol Sulka, which is a luxurious blend of silk, alpaca and merino.  Really lovely to work with, especially in garter stitch.  You might recognize the scarf as a non-variegated version of the Multidirectional Scarf.  First I had to learn a little about modular knitting and then I planned out the color changes for the intarsia.  I’ll be putting up a tutorial for working the Mulitdirectional Scarf with intarsia in the next few days.  Now it’s just a matter of knitting the rest of the scarf.  What I’ve got here is about twelve inches on the long side (but only seven on the short 102_4375side, shhh).  I’ve been trying to keep the scarf cat-hair free, which means that it stays in the cat-free guest room.  It works up pretty fast, so I’m hoping that I’ll have it finished soon!


The Shibui Knits socks will be the next pattern that I publish on the blog.  Hopefully.  If nothing goes wrong.  I finished sketching (er, imagining, I can’t really sketch) the socks last night but I have to wait until my new needles get here before starting them.  I tried swatching the yarn with size 1s (2.25mm) and 2s (2.75mm) and neither was quite right.  So I ordered some 1.5s (2.5mm) needles which should be here soon.  But for now, the socks are just in my imagination and my widget.



Oh yeah, I’ve also got a pair of socks planned using the Sanguine Gryphon’s Kypria.   But I think they’re also going to be a submission, so you only get to see the yarn again!  I have high hopes for this yarn, it seems really yummy so far!


So yeah, I’d better get back to knitting!


Lacy Spring Socks April 8, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,patterns — Cailyn @ 8:40 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I finally got a sunny day to take pictures of the lace socks that I had been working on.  Actually, the day was a little too sunny; many of the pictures came out over-exposed.  The light color of the yarn and the slight shine to it really confused the camera!  But, I think these turned out pretty well, all things considered.  Really, I’m just glad to have the pattern completely finished- the written part had been sitting there completed for a week just waiting for the pictures.


These socks were actually inspired by a commercial for rheumatoid arthritis medication, if you can believe it. There was a pair of socks in that commercial that were too pretty not to translate into hand knitting. They feature a lace front with a stockinette back, which makes the knitting go quickly. The lace pattern is simpler than it appears and is fairly easy to memorize. The instructions for the lace are both written and in chart form.  


Made from wicking, lightweight bamboo with just enough wool for some elasticity, the Lacy Spring Socks are a great warm-weather sock. These socks are very stretchy and will stretch to fit a 9” foot circumference. If the gauge swatch or cuff is too large, try using a yarn with more wool content for a snugger fit.

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The construction of these socks is a very traditional top-down construction, making them an easy sock for beginners or anyone who wants a simple project to work on at picnics or in the car. For a quicker project, these socks would make cute anklets!


Lacy Spring Socks

Download the PDF: Lacy Spring Socks

  • Finished Size: Midfoot circumference 8 inches, will stretch to fit 9 inches
  • Yarn: Argosy Luxury Fibers Five Oaks Ranch Bamboo [20% superwash wool/80% Bamboo] Sage (2 skeins)
  • Yardage: 300-400 yards
  • Needles: Size 0 (2.00mm) DPNs
  • Gauge: 38 sts x 50 rows = 4 inches
  • Extras: Stitch marker, stitch holder or scrap yarn, tapestry needle



CO 76 sts and divide evenly among 4 needles. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker to mark the beginning of the round.

Ribbing: *k1tbl, p1* to the end of the round.

Work Ribbing for approximately 1 inch.


(Instructions in brackets are also represented in chart form.  The chart repeats twice, with 4 knit stitches in between the repeats not shown on the chart. Click chart to enlarge.)Chart

Round 1: [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k5, YO, ssk, k4, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] k4, [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k5, YO, ssk, k4, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] knit to the end of the round.

Round 2, 4, 6, 8: Knit.

Round 3: [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k3, k2tog, YO, k1, YO, ssk, k3, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] k4, [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k3, k2tog, YO, k1, YO, ssk, k3, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] knit to the end of the round.

Round 5: [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k2, k2tog, YO, k3, YO, ssk, k2, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] k4, [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k2, k2tog, YO, k3, YO, ssk, k2, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] knit to the end of the round.

Round 7: [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k1, k2tog, YO, k5, YO, ssk, k1, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] k4, [YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO, k1, k2tog, YO, k5, YO, ssk, k1, YO, sl 1, k2tog, psso, YO,] knit to the end of the round.

Repeat Rounds 1-8 until leg is desired length, shown 4 1/4 inches.


At the end of any odd round, turn. The heel will be worked back and forth over the 38 stockinette stitches on the back of the sock. Move the other 38 stitches to a stitch holder or scrap yarn if desired.

Row 1 (WS): Sl 1, purl 37, turn.

Row 2 (RS): *Sl 1, k1* to the end, turn.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until heel flap measures 2 inches, ending on a WS row.

Heel Turn

Row 1 (RS): Sl 1, k20, ssk, k1, turn. 1 stitch decreased.

Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.  1 stitch decreased.

Row 3: Sl 1, k6, ssk, k1, turn.  1 stitch decreased.

Row 4: Sl 1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.  1 stitch decreased.

Continue working one more stitch each row until all stitches have been worked, ending on a WS row. 21 stitches remain.

Set up for gusset: Sl 1, knit across heel stitches. Using the same needle (Needle 1), pick up 1 stitch in each slipped stitch along the edge of the heel flap. Return held stitches to two needles (Needles 2 and 3) and work across instep stitches in lace pattern as established. Using an empty needle (Needle 4), pick up 1 stitch in each slipped stitch along the other edge of the heel flap, knit 10 heel stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 4. Mark this as the beginning of the round.

Gusset Shaping

Round 1: K2tog, knit to 3 stitches before the end of Needle 1, k2tog, k1, work across Needles 2 and 3 in lace pattern as established, k1, ssk, knit to the end of the round. 3 stitches decreased.

Round 2: Knit to the end of Needle 1, Needles 2 and 3 in lace pattern as established, knit to the end of the round.

Round 3: Knit to 3 stitches before the end of Needle 1, k2tog, k1, work across Needles 2 and 3 in lace pattern as established, k1, ssk, knit to the end of the round. 2 stitches decreased.

Repeat Rounds 2 and 3 until 76 remain.


Knit to the end of Needle 1, work Needles 2 and 3 in lace pattern as established, knit to the end of the round until the sock measures 2” shorter than desired length, ending on Row 7 if possible.


Round 1: Knit to 3 stitches before the end of Needle 1, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, knit to 3 stitches before then end of Needle 3, k1, k2tog; k1, ssk, knit to the end of the round. 4 stitches decreased.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 20 stitches remain.

Knit to the end of Needle 1. Move stitches from Needle 2 to Needle 3. Move stitches from Needle 4 to Needle 1. Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Graft stitches on Needle 1 to Needle 2.

Block if desired.



Please Note: I post my patterns as soon as I’ve completed them because I’m excited to share them with you. They have not been fully tested. But they are free. I’ve made every effort to make sure that the instructions are clear and error-free. There may be typos or pattern mistakes and if you find them or have any questions, please let me know by posting a comment or emailing me, dailyskein at


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