Works In Progress on a WIP Wednesday

Thanks to lots of playoff hockey, I’ve been getting a lot of knitting done. My most recent cast-on, Hitchhiker, is progressing rapidly even as the rows get longer. It’s totally autopilot knitting, but with a potato chip element. I cannot knit just one row. 🙂

We're making progress!

We’re making progress!

This 2-ply handspun is lovely to knit with. I love the effect of the color changes. Dana of Unwind Yarn Company is a brilliant dyer.

On the sweater front, Cassidy now has a back and two fronts,

She's starting to look like a sweater.

She’s starting to look like a sweater.

and the first sleeve is underway. If I were a monogamous knitter, Cassidy would probably be finished already. But I simply cannot bring myself to stick to one project at a time, and there’s no rush to finish Cassidy because she’s definitely a winter sweater, and winter is still a long way off here in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the spinning front, I’m spinning some lovely red Falkland wool on a drop spindle.

Unwind Yarn Company Falkland in O-Neg on one of my Goldings

Unwind Yarn Company Falkland in O-Neg on one of my Goldings

My progress is slow, but I try to spin on it at least a little every day.

I spend a lot more time spinning on my wheel, so my progress there is a lot faster. I’m currently working on some lovely “swirl” BFL, a blend of black and white BFL that is then dyed to create colors that spin up into a beautifully heathered yarn. I love the way this particular colorway spins up.

Sunset Fibers BFL on the Ladybug

Sunset Fibers BFL on the Ladybug

I divided the roving into thirds and plan to spin 3 bobbins of singles, then make a 3-ply yarn. I’m kind of in love with 3-ply handspun. 🙂

Be sure to check out other works in progress on Tami’s WIP Wednesday.

Where’s My Hockey?

The NHL lockout is dragging on and on, and it’s dragging my knitting down. With college football winding down and the NFL heading for the playoffs, I’m spending less and less time watching television. And less time watching television means less time spent knitting. If the NHL and the NHL Players Association would just settle their differences, then I would be knitting up a storm. But with no hockey games to watch, I’m spending my knitting time doing other things, like spinning, reading, and playing the piano. I WANT MY HOCKEY!

But in spite of limited television/knitting time, I am making progress on the two socks I have OTN, and I expect to get them finished in short order once the college football bowl extravaganza starts up on Sunday. The bowl games are played over the course of three weeks or so, and there will be some pro games played, too, so I should get a lot of knitting done in the next few weeks.

Here’s where my current knitting WIP stand at this very moment.

My Sparkly Garter Rib Socks sock #2 is well underway. As you can see, I have just a few more inches of foot left to knit, then I’ll be turning the heel.

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it's older sibling

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it’s older sibling

 

These socks will not be identical twins, but they will look enough alike the everyone will recognize them as siblings.

The Sunshine Rib Socks project is moving a little more slowly, but it is progressing. Sock #1 now has a heel, and I’m chipping away at the gusset stitches.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

I had originally planned to simply carry the 4 x 2 rib down the heel flap, but it looked too plain, so I went with the EOP (eye of partridge) heel instead. I think EOP was an excellent choice because it looks simply brilliant in this yarn. I think this colorway and the EOP were made for each other, don’t you?

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Since it’s been a rather slow sports week what with the NHL canceling games left and right, I’ve been doing a lot of spinning.  I’m plying a small amount of the gorgeous Falkland top from Unwind Yarn Company in the O Negative colorway that I spun on my Golding Micro Ringspindles. This fiber is an absolute dream to spin. It wanted to be spun very fine, and the singles are mostly the thickness (or should I say thinness) of sewing thread. I wound the singles into a plying ball and I’m plying the yarn on a Kundert.

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

I’m being careful not to over-ply the yarn because I’d like to produce a nice, drapey yarn for a lace project. If I’m pleased with the sample I’m making, I’ll spin and ply the rest of the braid the same way and use the yarn to make a lovely shawlette of some sort. The yarn is so fine that I have yards and yards of it so far, and I’ve only spun about 14 of the 110 grams of fiber in the braid. The color is simply too gorgeous for words. I love anything red, and the color of this yarn sets my little heart to thumping.

Another spinning project is resting on the lazy kate awaiting plying. I spun up the rest of the undyed BFL that I bought when I first started spindling. I had spun some of it on various spindles; it’s lovely to spin, soft and easy to draft. I was curious to see how it would behave on my wheel, so I spun up a couple of bobbins on the Ladybug, and the singles are now ready for plying.

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

I’m going to do a simple 2-ply and try to keep the twist on the softer side. This fiber is next-to-the-skin soft and will probably become a hat and matching or coordinating cowl.

And last but not least, I decided to play around on the Ladybug with the Cotton Candy fiber I have left from the November spindling challenge.

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

It’s surprising how differently fiber behaves when spun using different equipment. When I spun this fiber on spindles, it wanted to be drafted and spun very fine, but on my wheel, it wants to be spun thicker. Part of that might be how I have the Scotch tension set, and part of it might be due to the difference in my wheel drafting as opposed to my spindle drafting. But regardless of the why, I’m getting a beautiful singles on the wheel, and I have a ton of this fiber yet to spin. I am envisioning a 2-ply, but the yarn will tell me what it wants to be when it grows up. It may prefer to become a 3-ply. 😀

So, that’s what I have cooking on this WIP Wednesday. Thanks for looking in.

 

Does This Count For FO Friday?

I never know whether it’s kosher to count a first sock of a pair as a finished object, but since this is my blog, I get to make the rules. 😉

Here’s the back story. A while back, I bought this gorgeous BFL/Sparkle hand-dyed combed top from Woolgatherings on Etsy.

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A braid of BFL/Sparkle in gorgeous colors

Because of the Nylon content (Sparkle is Nylon fiber), I thought this fiber was a good candidate for sock yarn; I spun the wool onto three spindles, my two Golding Micro Ringspindles and my Schacht 1.1-ounce Hi-Lo spindle, with the intention of plying them together into a 3-ply fingering-weight yarn. The fiber spun up beautifully, and the Sparkle really does sparkle when the light hits it.

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BFL/Sparkle being spun on a Golding Micro Ringspindle

I wound the singles off the spindles to make a 3-strand plying ball, and I plied the yarn using my Schacht 2.2-ounce Hi-Lo spindle. I’m still pretty new to spinning and plying, and I sorta, kinda, like totally overplied the yarn. But still, it looked gorgeous in the skein,

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BFL/Sparkle 3-ply skeins

and a tightly-twisted yarn should make for very hard-wearing socks, right?

So I wound the yarn into cakes and cast on sock #1. I decided toe-up was the better option because I wasn’t certain of the yardage. It took me several tries to get the first sock started. I had chosen 2.25 mm needles because the yarn is a little thinner than most of the sock yarn I work with, and normally if I’m using 2.25 mm needles, I knit 80 stitches at 9.5 stitches per inch. So I started with 80 stitches, but after knitting the toe and a few inches of the foot, I realized that the sock was just a little too big. Since I was using garter rib, which is a 4-stitch repeat that consists of alternating one round of 2 x 2 rib with one round of plain knit, I started over and increased up to 76 stitches, a multiple of four.

I knitted the foot using garter rib on the instep and plain stocking stitch on the foot, worked a short-row heel over 60% of the stitches, knitted the leg in garter rib, made a 20-round 2 x 2 rib cuff, and cast off with the sewn cast-off. I tried the sock on and the fit is still a little on the loose side, although not so loose as to be saggy and uncomfortable.

I probably would have gotten a better fit had I gone with my usual 72-stitches. But I’m not going to rip out and reknit the entire sock because the fit is definitely good enough as is, and it might improve after the sock is washed, although I doubt the yarn will bloom much considering that my plying is as tight as Scrooge McDuck.

Sadly, although the top itself was gorgeous, and the singles were beautiful, and the colors blended nicely when plied, making for a lovely skein, the yarn didn’t knit up as prettily as I was expecting.

Sparkly Garter Rib Sock

Sparkly Garter Rib Sock

The sock looks better than almost any sock knit up in almost any colorway of Lorna’s Laces, the expensive yarn that both looks and wears like crap, but it isn’t exactly what one would call gorgeous. This, of course, is not the fault of the hand-dyed top but rather the problem lies with the spinner and plier who didn’t have a clue what the hell she was doing. But this is how a body learns. And sock #2 is OTN.

I will wear these socks when finished, and I will wear them with pride because not only did I knit the socks, I made the yarn. 🙂

WIP Wednesday

It’s another beautiful, mild December Wednesday here in southcentral Pennsylvania, and I have three works-in-progress to share.

My current WIP

My current WIP

Clockwise from the left, I present for your viewing pleasure:

The Sunshine Ribbed Socks, sock #1, a simple 4 x 2 rib in Draygone Yarnes Merino/Nylon fingering weight in the colorway Hair: Let the Sun Shine In (from Bryanna’s Broadway Sock Club). Unfortunately, Draygone Yarnes has been on hiatus ever since Bryanna moved cross-country and I don’t know when or even whether she plans to start up again. She is my favorite indie dyer of sock yarn and I really miss her Etsy shop even though I need more sock yarn like I need a hole in my head.

Unwind Yarn Company’s Falkland in the O-Negative colorway being spun very, very fine on a Golding Ringspindle

Sparkly Garter Ribs Socks, sock #1 (almost completed), which is being knitted from my very own 3-ply handspun of BFL and Sparkle.

Be sure to visit Tami’s site to see who else is participating in WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday–What I’m Working On

I’ve been a very busy girl. Just how busy? You’ll find out on FO Friday, but this is WIP Wednesday, so here’s what I’m working on.

I cast on a plain vanilla sock using Trekking XXL. The toe reminds me of candy corn,

Judy’s Magic Cast On begun with 20 stitches and increased to 80 stitches using Chrissy Gardiner’s shaped round toe.

so I decided to call the socks Vanilla Candy Corn Socks. I’ve knitted more of the foot since I took this picture, and the colorway doesn’t look at all like candy corn when it’s knitted on 80 stitches at 10 stitches per inch on 2.25mm needles, but I’m keeping the name. 🙂

I’ll knit the leg of the sock in ribbing for a good fit, but I love the way this colorway is knitting up in plain stocking stitch so I decided to keep the foot plain. Trekking XXL sock yarn is one of my very favorite sock yarns. It is beautifully dyed, wears like iron, and knits up really nice. It’s a fairly light fingering weight, so I prefer to knit it at a gauge of 10 stitches per inch instead of my usual 9 stitches per inch for sock yarn. I’m using the Kollage square DPNs (double-pointed needles, for the uninitiated) that the DH bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The stitches are very nicely formed and even. These are not my favorite needles, but I have to admit that I get excellent results when I use them.

My spindles have been busy, too. I’m spinning some fiber for the Ravelry Spindlers November challenge, “Life Is a Carnival,” and the Louet Northern Lights in the Cotton Candy colorway is spinning up very nicely.

Luscious Cotton Candy

I think I’ll end up doing a 3-ply sock yarn with this fiber. It’s a medium grade Corriedale, and although it doesn’t have any Nylon in it, it should make a sturdy sock yarn because I am spinning it very tightly, and I’ll ply it tightly, too. I am really enjoying spinning this fiber. It drafts easily and smoothly, and the color changes are fun to watch. I also love the Golding Ringspindles (Micros) that I’m using to spin this fiber. The more I use them, the more I love my Goldings.

My Golding spindles have been busy for sure, but so has my Ladybug. I bought some lovely Falkland from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Flirt that is mostly white with red and pink splotches on it. It is spinning up into very lovely singles.

Unwind Yarn’s Flirt fiber and singles

Once again, I plan to do a 3-ply and use the yarn for socks. I have a pattern picked out, but you’ll have to wait a while for the unveiling. 😀

Speaking of socks, I think my sock mojo is returning. I’m working on 2 pairs right now, the Vanilla Candy Corn Socks I shared at the beginning of this post, and a pair of knee socks that I am making for my oh-so-sock-worthy future DIL.

I took this picture before I cast off the sock.

Sock #1 is finished and has been tried on by its intended recipient to check for fit. Much to my amazement, it fit! YAY! I have never knitted knee socks before, and I wanted to make sure the first sock fits before casting on the second sock. I’m using a basic knee sock pattern that I found on the Internet via Ravelry, and it is absolutely excellent. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Wild Blue Yonder colorway. (I going from memory. I hope I got the right name for the color.) I thought plain vanilla toe-up knee socks would be über boring to knit, but much to my surprise, I have really enjoyed knitting this sock, even on two circular needles. And I now have 6 or 7 different sock patterns and yarns awaiting cast-on. Some of those yarns are my handspun, so I am definitely getting knitting inspiration from spinning. And vice versa. Socks, how I have missed you!