Hitchhiker

This is truly a Finished Object Friday for me. My Hitchhiker is done.

 

It’s knitted in Falkland wool, a 2-ply, fingering weight yarns in beautiful shades of blue that I spun from fiber I bought from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Dog Days Are Gone.

Hitchhiker is a very simple pattern to knit. It’s mostly garter stitch–there are the occasional purl stitches, and regular kfb increases–but it never gets boring. I love watching how the colors of the yarn stacked and flowed.

And now that my scarf is finished, the weather is way too warm for a wool scarf, so I will have to wait for fall to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

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.

Spinning

I’m sorry to say I haven’t knitted a stitch on either of my socks since Wednesday, so today’s FOs are all spinning projects.

Shown first is a lovely skein of BFL/Silk yarn that I spun and plied on my Ladybug. I chain-plied the yarn and I hope you can tell that my chain-plying is improving.

Greenwood Fiberworks BFL/Tussah silk in Peacock

Greenwood Fiberworks BFL/Tussah silk in Peacock

I love the colors in this fiber. Of course, they look much better in real life than in the picture. Photography is something at which I totally and absolutely suck.

Next is a sample skein I spun and plied on spindles. The fiber is Falkland from Unwind Yarn Company in the O Negative colorway.

A tiny skein of Falkland

A tiny skein of Falkland

I was able to spin the fiber very, very thin and I ended up with a lovely 2-ply lace weight yarn, which is what I was hoping for. I will spin and ply the rest of the braid in the same manner and I should end up with enough yarn to knit a small shawl. The different shades of red give the finished yarn a depth of color that is just stunning in person. Unfortunately, at photography I suck.

Lastly, I present to you the finished undyed BFL that I spun and plied on the Ladybug.

DSC02377_2

There is one very large hank, which hasn’t been skeined yet because it isn’t completely dry, and a small skein. The large hank is the first bobbin’s worth that I plied and the small skein is what didn’t fit onto the first bobbin. They yarn is probably a DK weight and it is soft beyond belief. I’m getting much better at plying on the wheel.

So, that’s what I have to report on this FO Friday. What have you finished?

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.

 

FO Friday–I Made Yarn!

I have no knitted FOs to report today, but I do have some finished handspun yarn to share with you.

First of all, I have finished plying (and washing) the lovely Falkland singles I spun from fiber I purchased from Unwind Yarn Company in the Flirt color way, which I featured as a WIP on Wednesday. Although I had originally intended to make a 3-ply yarn, I ended up doing a 2 ply.

Falkland 2-ply handspun 

 

The yarn is surprisingly round for a 2 ply, and I think it is destined to become socks in the not-too-distant future. I have 440 yards from the 4.2 oz of fiber I started with, so that is plenty to make a pair of socks. Yay!

Remember that lovely blue and green Merino and mohair blend I spun up a few weeks ago? I was originally going to make it a true 3-ply because I’m just not very good at chain-plying on my wheel. But because I had so much of this fiber–I started with 4.5 ounces–I realized that I had plenty to play with. This seemed to me to be a good opportunity to practice chain-plying on my spinning wheel, and I even ended up doing a little experimenting, too. All with mixed results, I should add.

Here’s the finished yarn I ended up with, about 564 yards in all.

Wolf Creek Wools Merino-mohair yarn, all spun and plied

The small skein at the top of the picture resulted from an experiment. The other three skeins are chain-plied yarn done on my Ladybug. When I first tried chain plying on my wheel, I had a lot of trouble because I couldn’t get the singles to unwind smoothly off the bobbin. I was using the built-in lazy kate that I added to my Ladybug, and it tensions the bobbins using stretchy plastic bands that go around the pulley on the end of the bobbin and the little black pulley on the kate. There seemed to be too much tension because the yarn was difficult to pull off the bobbin smoothly. If I tugged too hard, the single would snap. But if I removed the tensioning band, the yarn came off too quickly and I couldn’t keep it straightened out. After giving it some thought, I decided I could simply use a piece of string (#10 crochet cotton) to devise a brake for the bobbin. I simply made a loop in one end of the string and slipped it on the kate rod below the bobbin. Then I draped the string over the pulley on the bobbin, and wrapped the end around the kate rod to secure it. I could easily adjust the tension by pulling the string tighter or looser before securing the end to the kate rod below the bobbin.

Makeshift tensioning string

This method worked pretty well for the first bobbin, but when I started the second bobbin, I decided to use the regular tensioning system just to see how it would work. Guess what? It worked great! I don’t know why I had so much difficulty with it when I tried to chain-ply the first time. My chain plying on the wheel still isn’t very good, but it’s improving.

456 yards of chain-plied handspun

At one point, I decided to make a 2-ply yarn with these singles, just to compare it to the chain-plied yarn. The 2-ply was okay but a little underplied, so I got this brilliant idea to run it though the wheel again in the same direction, but to add another single. I was just curious about what would happen if I did this. I ended up with a yarn that is very, um, interesting.

108 yards of a 2-ply yarn plied with a single, an experimental yarn

The yarn is very textured, but rather messy, too, definitely in the “art yarn” category. I’ll have to make a swatch to see how it knits up. It seemed like a good idea at the time. 😀

 

 

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!