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.

 

Candy Corn And Other Stuff

Yes, it’s another FO Friday and I have lots to report on this gorgeous late November morning. First things first, I finished the Vanilla Candy Corn socks.

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The socks are not identical, but I rather like them that way. I love how the colors in this Trekking XXL stripe and flow, and I think this colorway looks fabulous in garter rib, don’t you?

Remember this fiber from the Sunset Fibers Roving of the Month Club that I was spinning? I turned it into this lovely 2-ply fingering-weight yarn.

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I’m really pleased with how this yarn turned out. There are lots of long sections of solid or nearly solid colors connected with marled sections, and I think the effect is simply spectacular. Linda at Sunset Fibers is a gifted dyer. I’ve spun up three of her colorways so far, and all of them have been beautiful.

Okay, so far we have a pair of finished socks and 4 oz. of 2-ply handspun yarn. But there’s more. Remember the Cotton Candy fiber I was spinning up for the November challenge for the Raverly Spindlers group? The theme for the month, which I picked, is “life is a carnival.” So here’s my finished yarn.

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I spun the yarn on my two Golding Ringspindles and my Schacht 1.1. I wanted to make a 3-ply, so I wound the singles off the spindles into a plying ball, then I plied the yarn using my Schacht 2.2.

When I was winding the plying ball, as I neared the end one of my singles snapped. I decided that rather than splicing the ends I would break the other two singles, then wind the remaining yarn into a separate plying ball. The second ball was tiny, so I plied it first.  After taking the plied yarn off my niddy-noddy, I decided I had put in too much twist when I plied it, so when I plied the second, large ball, I put in less twist and the finished yarn is more to my liking.

Just in case you hadn’t guessed, the tiny skein in the picture is the over-plied yarn from the tiny plying ball and the large skein above it is the more loosely-plied yarn from the large plying ball. I have no idea what I will use this yarn for, but it will look pretty in my stash. 😀

I was  afraid that the colors would turn muddy when I plied the yarn, especially since I was doing a 3-ply. But my fears were unfounded. The yarn remains quite colorful. Life is a carnival!

Another WIP Wednesday–Part 2

Here’s the spinning portion of our program. I’m starting with the lovely pin-drafted Corriedale beautifully dyed by Sunset Fibers for the November Fiber of the Month selection. I’m still a spinning newbie, so I’m always experimenting. I took this fiber and split it in half length-wise. Then I spun each half onto a separate bobbin, keeping the colors in the same order. I planned to ply the singles together to make a 2-ply and I was hoping that there would be large sections of yarn where the colors would line up. I knew there would be sections where they wouldn’t because I couldn’t be absolutely precise in dividing the yarn, and my spinning isn’t absolutely precise, either, so the length of each color section naturally varies. Sometimes it varies a lot. But I was hoping to get a yarn in which the solid colors transition one to the next through marled sections.

Sunset Fibers November 2012 FOTM in the process of becoming a 2-ply yarn

And that’s exactly what I got.

Plied yarn waiting to be wound onto the niddy noddy

On the finished bobbin, you can see only marled sections, but there are large sections where the colors lined up just right, and also sections where the marling is very subtle because the colors that came together are just lighter and darker shades of the same color. I think I am going to chalk this experiment up as a success.

So what’s next on my wheel? Well, I decided to start spinning up a lovely BFL/Tussah silk blend I bought from Greenwood Fiberworks through Etsy.

Greenwood Fiberworks 85% BFL/15% Tussah Silk in Peacock

This is my first try at spinning fiber with silk content, and it is definitely different from spinning pure BFL. I’ve had to play around a bit with the ratios on my wheel, but I’m starting to get a feel for the fiber. The first bobbin is almost done.

“Peacock” BFL/Silk single

I’m debating whether to make this yarn a 2-ply or chain-ply it. I know that a lot of spinners/knitters don’t like the barber pole effect, but I’m not one of them. But the colors of this yarn are intense jewel tones, and it might be nice to keep them separate. My singles are thicker than usual, so if I chain-ply the yarn, it will be pretty thick, and I really don’t like yarns that are thicker than Aran weight (and Aran weight is pushing it). I’ll probably do a chain-ply sample and see how it turns out. If it isn’t too thick, I will probably chain-ply the fiber. If it’s thicker than I like, I’ll probably 2-ply it. Decisions, decisions! 😀

If you are wondering whether I have thrown over my spindles for my wheel, the answer is a resounding NO! I’ve been working on the 3rd spindle of the Northern Lights Cotton Candy fiber, but I must admit my progress has slowed down a bit lately. It’s not that I don’t love spindling, and it’s not that I don’t love this particular fiber. The problem has been that my back has been a bit unhappy and has forced me to curtail my spindling. I stand and walk while spindling, and standing and walking are just what my back didn’t want. But all is well now, so I’m back on track to finish this project before the month is out.

Cotton Candy on the spindles

 

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!

The Perfect Balance

Since I have spun up at least 12 ounces of fiber from my fiber stash in the past month, I needed to balance the stash by replacing the spun fiber. So I added some Polwarth in a brilliant red-orange-yellow colorway called Fire Truck,

and my first-ever spinning batt, Roses in Her Eyes,

which contains Merino, alpaca, silk, bamboo, and angelina. One must actually feel this batt to understand how soft it is. I wish there was a way you, dear reader, could touch this batt virtually, but, alas, that technology is beyond my ability. Both of these fiber purchases came from BohoKnitterChic on Etsy. I love Etsy. 😀

And then there’s a big bag of wool top I bought from The Woolery.

It’s 8 ounces of Louet Northern Lights in the Cotton Candy colorway. I bought it for the November spinning challenge on the Ravelry group Spindlers. The winner of the monthly challenge gets to pick the theme for a future monthly challenge, and when I won the challenge a couple of months ago (the winner is drawn randomly), I chose “Life Is A Carnival” as the theme for November. What is more reminiscent of a carnival than cotton candy, right? I don’t know whether I will spin the entire 8 ounces or just a portion of it, but some nice Cotton Candy clown barf handspun will fit the theme perfectly.