The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

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.

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

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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.

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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…

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Grr. Argh. October 20, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 4:12 pm
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The gods are toying with me.

 

I spent a goodly chunk of time churning out gauge swatches for my Central Park Hoodie.  Four large swatches later and it looked like size 10 needles were the way to go.  My yarn and needles came yesterday and in a strange fit of rationality, I decided to swatch again, just to be sure.  I even washed and blocked the swatch.  Guess what?

 

I’m now one stitch too short.  I have 16 sts for 4 inches instead of 17.  ARGH!  Forget it.  I’m just going to use my circulars and forget the idea of knitting this lever-style.  I can’t knit another swatch.  Well, really it’s more likely that I can’t wait to get more needles. I have all the circs that I need…

 

To take the bad taste of swatch out of my mouth, I’m going to show you the yarn that I got at Knit Purl last week.

 

My mom came out and visited last week.  We drove down to Portland for a day and spent some time in the Japanese Garden, which was beautiful and very peaceful.  That’s my mom on the bridge.

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Then we went back into the city and went to Josephine’s Dry Goods and Knit Purl.  Knit Purl is a great store.  Lots of yarn and variety and even some roving!  They had a whole wall of Koigu sock yarn (which I don’t like as much, but I know lots of people love!)  My mom was really nice and bought me a Japanese stitch pattern book, and these yarns:

 

Some sock yarn from Happiest Girl! Dyeworks, 75% superwash/25% nylon.  The yarn isn’t very soft (washing will probably take care of that), but I am completely in love with the saturated teal next to the deep black.  It looks fabulous in natural lighting.

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Sheep Shop Yarn (Sheep #3), a sport-weighty merino/silk blend.  Deliciously soft and it has that dangerous sparkle to it that makes it hard to put down.

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Last but not least, a yarn that my mom picked out that is to die for.  ShibuiKnits Baby Alpaca DK, in a very royal blue.  So very, very soft!

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Favorite color? I don’t have a favorite color.  Clearly I love all colors equally and nothing you can say will convince me that I love blue more than yellow.  It’s obviously not true.

 

Once upon a time October 8, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 3:58 pm
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Once upon a time there was a knitter.  She lived in a pleasant land with a slight nip in the air.  This got the knitter to thinking.  She really needed a light jacket to keep out the chill but not be too warm.  Her husband had just gotten a very nice leather jacket to fit that niche for himself.  The knitter wanted something nice too.  She searched high and low for a suitable jacket but none of the shops had what she wanted.  The knitter was very sad, thinking that her old ratty fleece jacket that she didn’t like was going to have to last one more year.

 

Then a good fairy appeared and bonked the knitter on the head with a very sharp wand (the part of the fairy in tonight’s performance will be played by a cabinet door.)  The fairy reminded the knitter that she had yarn, needles, and more than a little intelligence to make her own jacket.

 

The knitter thought that the fairy was very smart.  The knitter carefully ignored the unworn vest in her closet.  She didn’t like vests and never had.  No amount of “science” could convince her that vests can keep your arms warm by keeping your core warm.  Nope, she vehemently denied ever having thought that she would wear such a thing.  She had no idea why she would have knit that in the first place.

 

Having conveniently forgotten about the vest, she had also forgotten about the things she learned while knitting it.  Like the fact that she dislikes knitting things flat.  That she hates seaming.  And that the witchcraft of attaching sleeves was vaguely terrifying.  She also worked very hard not to remember the seamless cardigan that she had started earlier in the year.  She was pretty sure that the cardigan had been lost at sea, even though it had never been to sea.  It was tragic, really, she’d never quite gotten over the loss.

 

Maybe it was the bonk on the head, but the knitter thought that she could probably finish the knitted jacket before the weather turned too cold to wear it.  It wouldn’t take her that long to knit a worsted-weight jacket, especially if she shoved aside all the other things she was working on, including her spinning, and ignored the fact that Christmas (and a December 1st deadline for publications) was in two and a half months.

 

The knitter happily repressed any and all logical objections from her aforementioned intelligence and went and bought the pattern for the Central Park Hoodie.  Then she bought some Wool of the Andes, because she thinks that it’s generally nicer against the skin than Cascade 220.  She decided against superwash since a jacket needs less washing than a sweater or socks.  She is even thinking about knitting this using lever knitting, hoping that this will make things faster, even though her lever knitting still isn’t faster than her regular knitting.  This, of course, will require new needles.

 

And they all lived happily ever after.

 

Still learning September 30, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 1:37 pm
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I’m still practicing my Irish cottage knitting.  So far, my biggest problem is figuring out how to hold the yarn for the right tension.  If I find a way that works for knit stitches, it’s too loose for purls.  If it’s good for purls and knits, I can’t work very fast.  But I’m still trying and when I get it down, there will be tutorials!

 

It wasn’t until I was about 8 inches into my “practice swatch” that I realized that this is a good opportunity to make myself a scarf.  I searched my stash for some yummy worsted weight… only to find that I don’t have any.  Well, I have yummy worsted.  But not enough to make a scarf.  (I take that back.  I just realized that I have some wool that was hand-dyed in New Mexico that would have been great, but isn’t stored in the stash right now so I had forgotten about it.  Hm, hopefully the husband who I dragged to two yarn stores, saying that I had no yarn, will not read this!)  So we went to the yarn shop during some errands and then to the second yarn shop when the first didn’t have anything that jumped into my hands that was also in my price range.  I am not making an $80 scarf, Alchemy Yarns, no matter how soft and shiny and utterly gorgeous you are!  At the second yarn shop, I got two balls of Mochi Plus, in Neptune Rainbow.  I almost ended up buying needles too, since this new technique seems to be easier to learn on straights than DPNs at least at the beginning.  But Mochi Plus luckily needs one of my three pairs of straights.  So far I’m liking the yarn very much.  Pretty colors, nice gradation, and easy to work with.  Oh, and SOFT.  I can’t wait to try the sock yarn version!

 

So, scarf on the needles, socks also underway.  (To be honest, I have many socks underway.  But no one needs to be that honest.)  I have been working on a pair of socks for Lowell; the poor man hadn’t gotten any socks yet!  After I found the perfect yarn (which took a while!), I couldn’t come up with the right pattern.  These seem to be going over well, though.  I finished the first sock last week and am making the second sock in record time, since Lowell has been walking around with a sock on one foot and a felted slipper on the other for the last few days.  I haven’t decided yet if these socks will be submitted for publishing anywhere yet, so no pictures until I make up my mind.  I’m leaning towards publishing them on the blog though.  Will keep you posted.

 

I made yarn! September 22, 2009

Filed under: spinning — Cailyn @ 3:20 pm
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I’ve now spun on a wheel and on a spindle.  While I was very frustrated at the beginning of the spindle class, it eventually made much more sense to me than spinning on a wheel.  There are so many parts to the wheel, so much happening at once, that I couldn’t really conceptualize what was going on.  It was easier on the spindle, once I got past the silently screaming phase anyway.

 

The kit that I bought for my spindle class came with a few ounces of fiber.  I used up most of the roving in class, but had a surprising amount of combed top left.  I like the top better anyway.  So, I spun that up over a week or so, getting better all the time.  Then came time to ply.  I completely forgot about making a plying ball, and put each ball of singles into a mug to keep them from rolling around and started plying.  It was very frustrating and I don’t think I’ll ever forget to make a plying ball again.

 

This is my two-ply, mostly worsted-spun yarn!

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I think it came out pretty well!  There’s hardly enough to do anything with, so I think I’ll tuck it away as my first real finished yarn.

 

After that, I found some of the white top that had been separated from its brethren for no apparent reason.  So I spun that and tried my hand at chain-plying.  That was really hard.  The single I spun was very “energetic” (the polite term for “way too overspun”) and that makes chain-plying much, much harder since the single keeps trying to strangle itself.  It’s kind of like wrestling with cling wrap.  When it worked, I loved the technique.  When it didn’t work, I wanted to burn the whole darn mess, except that it’s wool and wool doesn’t burn well.

 

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Worsted-spun chain-plied skeinlette.

 

For comparison, here’s all three of my yarns together.  Wheel-spun single, spindle-spun two-ply, and spindle-spun chain-ply.

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I do believe my drafting has gotten much better!

 

Titles are hard September 15, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 4:47 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Well, that was an unexpected hiatus.  Let’s see what’s been going on lately.

 

One of my best friends got married (congratulations again!)  I was a bridesmaid and the dresses were strapless, so I knit up a shrug using some yarn that I bought at the Sock Summit for just that purpose.  I was knitting this as we drove to the ceremony- it’s a good thing that the location was so far away!

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The yarn is Toe Jammies Merino-Tencel, from Sweet Grass Wool in Mulberry.  I really liked this yarn.  It’s soft with a delightful shine and didn’t split at all.  The pattern for the shrug was pretty much improvised as I knit.  It started circularly, with a few rounds of moss stitch and then a few rounds of Larkspur Lace (which I used in these gloves.)  Then I worked the shrug flat until I nearly went insane the night before the wedding and when my sanity was hanging on by a mere thread, I joined it back in the round and worked the other “sleeve” in the opposite order.  Actually, it was all finished, even with some blocking, by the time I got in the car to leave, but then I stupidly decided that since I had an extra hour I would add a moss stitch border to the flat section.  And I finished it too… except that I wasn’t paying attention when I cast off (there might have been some champagne involved) and the cast off was too tight to get the shrug on.  So I ripped out the border and all was well.

 

Then I rushed to finished a last-minute submission to Knitty.  Unfortunately, if I show you any part of it, I would have to kill you.  So, that will remain a mystery until I hear back from them.  I think I can show you the yarn I used, though, this very pretty Malabrigo Sock in Persia.  The design uses twisted stitches which have become so much of an obsession that I’m actually dreaming about them.

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After that, I had an unexpected and fun visit from my dad.  We took a day trip to Mt. St. Helens and hiked around there as well as doing some biking closer to home.  We also had a good time being dorks in the Sci Fi Museum.  But there wasn’t much knitting, so I’ll leave it at that.

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And finally, which brings us up to yesterday, I sent off a submission to Yarn Forward for an issue later this year.  Again, I can’t show you anything but the yarn, which is Cherry Tree Hill’s Sockittome in Loden.  I like this yarn a lot (the stitch definition is great!), although it knit into a very stiff and somewhat scratchy fabric.  After a good, aggressive blocking (a treatment I rarely pull out for socks) the yarn softened up and the fabric became soft and pliable.  Amazingly enough, the socks that I submitted have absolutely zero, nada, no twisted stitches in them!

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In positive news, I just remembered that I have a few patterns all written up from last year that I’ve been saving for this fall.  Those should be up soon!

 

Birthday Yarn July 5, 2009

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 2:28 pm
Tags: , ,

Ever have one of those weeks that seemed to be very busy, but at the end of it you haven’t actually completed much?  Yeah.  I did get a few things done, including a project for Knotions that had been hanging over my head for a long time.  And I ordered my Sock Summit souvenirs, which was fun.  But I didn’t write any of the blog posts or take pictures for a tutorial I’ve had planned for a while…  Where did the time go?

 

It was also my birthday last week.  My in-laws have started a great tradition where they take me to a yarn store.  Need more be said?  It’s probably my favorite part of my birthday!  This year we visited CDA Yarn and Fiber while we were in Coeur d’Alene. 

 

CDA

 

So, here’s the haul!

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First up, Handmaiden Casbah.  This yarn is so yummy.  I was first drawn to the deep saturated colors, but the fiber content really sealed the deal.  Merino, cashmere, nylon.  This is a sock yarn, but I’m pretty sure it’s not destined to be a pair of socks.  It’s too pretty to be covered by shoes.  I have no idea what it’ll be instead though. 

 

 

 

 

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Malabrigo!  I’d actually never run across Malabrigo sock at a yarn store before and it was love at first sight.  Like the Casbah, the color was the first thing that caught my eye.  This skein is a gorgeous blue with that classic wool shimmer.  It’s got subtle color changes from dark blue to very light.  I love it.  It’s so soft.  I got two skeins, one in Persia and one in Archangel, which is a strangely fascinating colorway.  It’s hard to describe and I don’t think the picture really captures it.  It’s lilac and pink but not pink and gold/green… Crazy.  I can’t wait to see how it knits up.

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Speaking of Malabrigo, my brother-in-law bought me this squooshy skein of Malabrigo Chunky.  He has pretty good taste in yarn for a non-fiber-addict. He got me some Misti Alpaca lace-weight last winter.  He said that he looks for yarn that he would want to wear, something soft and cuddly.  Can that criteria ever steer you wrong?  After all, the number one cause of unexpected yarn purchases is the inability to put a skein down after picking it up “just to feel.”  He chooses colors that he likes which rounds out my stash nicely.  This isn’t a colorway that I would have picked for myself even though I really like the colors.  But my stash has a distinct lack of red and gold no longer!

 

 

I got one other thing from this shopping spree which is really neat, but I’m not going to post it yet.  I have my reasons, don’t think I don’t!  Stop judging me!