yarrrrn.

spindles

Those of you who’ve been reading for awhile know that I’ve begun practicing with a drop spindle. I posted some practice “yarn” this spring, but honestly, I was having a hard time with drafting and getting an even, longer-than-a-millisecond spin with my spindle. Enter Mel of Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans. In September, Mel held a contest in conjunction with fundraising for the Breast Cancer 3Day Walk in DC, and I won the beautiful spindle in the foreground above. This spindle has made all the difference. It spins forever, which has given me the practice I need to figure out how to draft and spin more consistently. I’m considering this my very first yarn — spun from 2 oz of BFL in colorway Sadia from A Verb For Keeping Warm. It is a beautiful, complex gray. Here’s what it looked like when I took it off the spindles:

prewash

I then soaked it in a warm water bath, and weighted it as it hung to dry to straighten it out.  I waited all day yesterday for it to dry, and last night I wound it into a skein:

tada

And here’s the skein with a dime for scale:

tada-dime

This looks pretty thick-thin, but much of that has to do with switching spindles and making it over the drafting hurdle part of the way through this projct. I’d say most of the yarn is solidly dk weight, and none of it is thicker than a heavy worsted. I’ve begun a new spinning project already, and I can already see my own progress. This is seriously addicting.

Happy New Year! I’ll be back soon with (perhaps) a quick review of my knitting year, and some resolutions for 2009.

FO: leftover socks

blurry-leftovers

blurry-close-up

Apologies for the blurriness, folks. We all know how hard it is to take pictures of one’s own feet. Details on these socks: Cascade 220 superwash, maybe 3/4 of a ball? I bought 2 balls to make a pair of men’s size 10.5 socks, and started a new ball for each sock. I made these with the leftovers. Same basic Ann Budd pattern, size 5 needles. My toes are nice and warm!

Also, this guy wants you to know that even though he is on vacation, he is getting a lot of work done on his green toy:

pooch1

pooch2

Boh is currently snoring loudly on the couch. He worked very hard today.

when farmers come to visit.

veggies

Life is good. Boh and I are back in our New Home apartment after a lovely Christmas with family. Santa was very good to us, as he always is, and in the land of knitting progress, I finished my dad’s Thuja socks at 10:45 pm on Christmas Eve. He loved them. I don’t have any modeled shots to share, but I’ve been hinting to my dad that a good recipient of knitted gifts actually wears the stuff s/he receives, rather than admire the item as it sits (languishes?) in the sock drawer…

I’ve taken a few days off from knitting — all of my holiday projects burned me out a bit, but I think I’m ready to pick up some mindless projects. Boh and I have a few days of total vegging planned before the next adventure begins. Yesterday we made chicken stock, which made the house smell absolutely delicious, and a dear farmer friend stayed the night on her way back to the North Country. She left us with quite a haul, so there may be a big pot o’ soup in our future.

More knitting content soon, I promise…

not finished yet…

But look! Progress!

thuja-1

I cast on for Thuja today, two days before Christmas. I was planning to concede that I just can’t get it all done, and wrap up the yarn and some measuring instructions for my dad, but this morning I decided to throw that plan out the window and try to get at least one sock ready to wrap. I’ve been knitting most of the day, and I’m going to kitchener this bitch tonight. (Apologies if that offends. It’s late, and it is how I feel!) Here’s one more shot:

thuja-2

Remember those mittens I mentioned yesterday? The ones in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton? Was I crazy? Cabling AND knitting a super dense fabric out of cotton? My hands did not like me very much last night, and I wasn’t happy with the fit as I made progress on the first mitten, though the cabling did look lovely. I frogged that, and then my mother, in a totally unplanned JoAnn’s encounter (we were looking for denim patches), picked out some polyester/acrylic blend Lion Brand Homespun, and requested a scarf. I was skeptical, being that I detest acrylic, but this isn’t looking too hideous, and she is really happy with it.

homespun-scarf1

I’m just improvising here with something super basic, and I’m pretty happy with it. I’d actually like to make some variation of this scarf, with alternating blocks of garter and stockinette, in a super-luxurious tweedy yarn.  This doesn’t need to be finished in time for Christmas — I just wanted to have something in progress to tuck into the gorgeous Namaste bag I’m giving my (mostly non-knitting) mother.

Alright, time to crawl into bed and kitchener before drifting off to sleep.

still knitting…

First off, the boy seemed quite pleased with the socks and mittens. He tried everything on immediately on Friday night, and was showing off the mittens at the Saturday farmers’ market. He’s a bit camera shy, so I have no modeled pictures to share. Onto holiday knitting:

side-square2

There’s a wireless signal in my bedroom at my parents’ house. I’m not sure if this is good or bad for my holiday knitting. Either way, it is good for blogging. Today, about twenty minutes before my brother arrived, I finished Turn A Square, and to echo everyone who has already made one (or twenty), I love this pattern. I want one, and I will definitely be making a bunch more. What a nice hat to add to the knits-for-boys arsenal. Take a look:

square-blurry

flat-square

Also, I started another pair of Cruiser mittens for my mom, in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton. (My mom has a wool sensitivity/allergy, which makes knitting for her tough.) I’m giving her a Namaste bag for Christmas, but I wanted to tuck something warm and handknit inside, so I’m hoping I can squeak two mittens out of one skein…

cruiser-2

I’m making the smallest size, because this yarn is a bit thicker than the Malabrigo I used on the first pair, and because it is cotton, and I want the cuff to be snug.

I’ll leave you with a winter shot of a cardinal at the feeder in my parents’ yard. I’ll be back when I have more progress to report!

cardinal

too ambitious?

blocking-mittens

Maybe not. Yesterday I managed to knit mitten number two, and now the pair is blocking. The outsides are dry, but the insides may still be a bit damp when I gift these later today. I have them on the heater, and if they magically dry in the next few hours, they will be immediately useful.

I wanted to post a picture I snapped two minutes ago of the snow falling outside, but wordpress says I can’t upload any images at this moment. I guess that means the other project I started yesterday will also remain a mystery for now…

Back to knitting!

cruisering.

That’s right. The act of knitting cruiser.

first-mitten-dark

first-mitten-2

I knit this mitten 1.5 times because I misread the pattern and put the thumb at a weird place, and even with the extra knitting, I started this mitten on Tuesday night and knit the thumb Wedneday night after hosting an impromptu dinner party. Cruiser is the right name for these mittens! (Details: Malabrigo in Olive, size 6 dpns.) I’m hoping these will also be for the boy, particularly becuase I’m not sure how well the socks will wear, and these will definitely do some solid warming work this winter. I’m knitting the largest size, but as I don’t have any hand measurements to go on, and these fit me pretty well, I’m worried. I’m going to block them aggressively once I knit mitten numbah 2, and see what happens. I do think I’m due for some malabrigo mittens…

How about more food pictures from week #2 of paper-writing?

food-mill-in-action

Food mill in action.

applesauce

Tada! Smooth applesauce!

sushi

Tofu, avocado and brown rice sushi. Delicious.

Alright, time to go cast on for the second mitten! I imagine I’ll be posting more about my holiday knitting decisions soon, mostly because I’m still deciding…