Saturday, November 24, 2007

Yep, it was the ball winder all right

Well, partly. Really it was my inability to keep from wanting to play with other yarns. Although, I have learned that the big ball winder really doesn't seem to work too well with smaller amounts of yarn. Or else I'm doing something wrong. So I ordered myself a new ball regular plastic Royal ball-winder. It's not here yet or I'd have even more new things on the needles.

I did manage to finish yet another long term project though. I managed to finish my French Market Bag in the week before Thanksgiving. I had to run it through my mum's washer 4 times before it got even close to felted enough though. Next time I'm trying a laundromat machine.

pre-felting it fills the seat of my chair
post-felting it is only about half the width of the chair
It stands up fairly well on its own but it could probably benefit from still more felting to make it stiff enough to stand up better. I still like it as it is for carrying small knitting projects so I may leave it this way. If I make another I will probably adjust how I do the bottom and try to felt it more to make it stiffer.

Since the arrival of the big ball winder I have wound up 7 new skeins of yarn (not counting the Cluaranach I mentioned last time) and knitted a bit on a bunch of things. I've started the planning and knitting for some Holiday gifts so may not blog them until after the holidays. Just in case someone is reading who would then not be surprised.

I hope everyone reading who celebrates it had a lovely Thanksgiving. We had a nice meal and are having a lazy long weekend. Kinda.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I like this Finished Object thingy - how do I keep that up?

Well, my mum talked to my auntie today and she got the shawl (whew! I don't trust the Post Office) and better yet, apparently she really liked the shawl. I tell you, there's nothing like giving a hand-knit to someone who knits. They really know how to make you want to immediately knit them something else. Only if I knit something else for Auntie (I was thinking a pair of sport weight socks for wearing about the house?) next I'm pretty sure I'll get into trouble. Because now my mum has joined the chorus of "when are you knitting me a pair of socks?" Which cracks me up because less than a month ago she still couldn't figure out why you'd knit socks when you could buy them. Only Hubby wants his and DD wants hers and... So I need to figure out my next sock project soon. And also how to keep up with the finishing of stalled projects.

I figured out two more contributing factors to the finishitis I have been enjoying recently. One was that I was upgrading my computer's OS so of course I had to back everything up first. And then do the upgrade. So no way to get online and lots of time sitting around waiting which equaled lots of time sitting around knitting. No wonder you programmers get a lot done while you wait for compiles and so on.

And then too, the dog broke my ball winder. So I couldn't "just swatch this yarn to see". Since I couldn't wind it into a ball/cake. I realized my leaving the ball winder and swift up all the time contributed to the overflow of projects on the needles at one time. I think I need to cut that number down a bit. I'm thinking this means that I can't leave the ball winder set up. Both to keep the dog from killing it again and because it might make it just enough harder to wiffle waffle about what I want to do that I won't end up with 80 bazillion wips.

I still have 5 on the needles (not just swatches, actual WIPS/UFOs) not counting Cluaranach which will undoubtedly get started tomorrow if not today. Plus another 5 that I have yarn and pattern ready to start any moment (again, not counting Cluaranach) and another 3 or 4 that I have queued up mentally but in a more general sense. IE "Socks for DH" not "Socks in this yarn and this pattern for DH". I gotta figure out how to get more knitting time while still managing to keep up with what other folks are blogging and you know, general life stuff like work and feeding the family and personal hygiene and whatnot.

I do have another FO for today's post though. The issues of lack of ball winders and computer upgrades meaning no time online continued long enough for that.

Probably the last FO for a while: The Fetching mitts from Knitty. Started last winter (January, or maybe December) they got stalled when it warmed up and I didn't need them anymore.
Now that it's cooler again I decided to finish them up too. I have a terrible problem that way. I can't even buy ready to wear when they want you to. So I doubt I'll ever manage to knit myself a winter sweater to wear the same winter for example. It'll be started in November and if I'm lucky finished before the following November. But never started in August and finished two months later so I can wear it that year. Well, maybe I can change.

In the meantime, back to the FO. I had a lot of trouble getting a good picture of the mitts. This one shows the pattern best out of the modeled shots:
except the actual color is darker

But this one (taken by an obliging DH) proves I have two:
and shows the color better

Pattern: Fetching from Knitty Summer 2006
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Pure Alpaca in color 795 (Juniper iirc). I was able to get the pair of mitts out of one skein (just barely).
Mods: Knitting the first mitt I goofed and only did 4 rows of ribbing between the two cables. I thought about ripping back but decided that I liked it like that and that I would actually want a longer cuff since I tend to find sleeves run a bit short on me. So I repeated the 4 rib rows plus a cable row one more time and called it an on purpose modification. Then when I had cast off the first one and put it on I discovered the mitt didn't reach to my fingers so I did an additional 4 rib rows and a second cable row at the finger end as well.

This will likely be the last FO for a while because I have almost completed the upgrade path for my laptop's OS (still need to update a printer driver apparently) and so am online again. And then too, I got my brand new ball winder yesterday in the mail. And today I wound up the first skein of yarn for my Cluaranach Wrap which I'm probably going to cave in to the siren call of and cast on for tonight.
My new Strauch Jumbo ballwinder seems to work fine for normal amounts of yarn.

Oh, and I got the brown romney off the wheel so that tomorrow I could start spinning up the white romney.
Brown romney hand spun 2-ply 150 yards. Skeined and ready to wash.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Here a FO, There a FO...

...but, unfortunately, not "Everywhere a FO FO".

While I've been conspicuously not blogging every day during NaBloPoMo (I haven't been writing every day of NaNoWriMo either but I am doing it and plan/hope/pray to hit at least the 50,000 word goal before the end of the month), I have since last time actually knit rather a lot. For me anyway. Thanks mostly to interminable chauffeuring mum about and then waiting for her. This post will be photo heavy (as almost always - unless I'm trying to hide a mess - click to make bigger) because no way am I not braggin' on the knitting since it took so long to get to the finished object stage. All these finished within the last three days. I need to plan better.

First I finished the Forest Canopy Shawl for my Auntie. It is on its way there as I type.

Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl by Susan Pierce Lawrence
Yarn: Handmaiden 2-ply Cashmere in Marine, bought from The Loopy Ewe
Mods: Since the yarn was thinner but the cashmere makes it quite warm even when lacy. I used a size 6 needle and did more body repeats to get the shawl long enough. I did 14 repeats of the body pattern chart before doing the edging. I think one or two more body repeats might be better for a taller person but my Auntie is on the shorter side. And that would have meant both breaking into a second skein and also, taking even longer to finish. And while I wouldn't begrudge Auntie a second skein, I think I was running out of time.

Here it is in the indoor arty photo:

And outdoors - where the canine model wouldn't cooperate so I fired her and hired the neighbor's shrub since it was poking through the fence anyway:

Blocking photos:

The leftovers from the single skein:
Is that cutting it close or what?

I'm pleased with the end result and have already sent it off across the pond. I wouldn't use this yarn again for this pattern I think, since it is kind of thin, as the blocking photos show. But it is still warm. Cashmere's good that way. But I think I'd like to make another in the fingering weight called for some day.

But first I have to finish up some more UFOs and start my Cluaranach wrap. That one is gonna be mine. Mine, all mine! Muahahhah. Think I can finish it in a month if I start soon? It'd be cool to have something I'd made to wear to hubby's office holiday party.

Speaking of "Mine, all Mine!" I received in the mail yesterday the prize I was so incredibly lucky to win from Norma's Red Scarf Fund contest. Carrie very generously donated a custom made sock and gadgets bag set. She made me the most beautiful bag set. See:
My daughter admired it and said she was envious and my first reaction was "Mine!" I'm such an evil mother.

I also did a little spinning recently. Well, actually, plying. I decided I really wanted a two ply instead of a three ply out of my brown romney that I spun two bobbins of ages ago.

The fact that that meant I didn't need to order another bobbin for my wheel was completely irrelevant. No, really. Ok, it might have had a tiny effect on my decision making progress in that the laziness sent me off to look up what I thought I remembered. I think the yarn turned out ok for the use which is a small tapestry project. Now I just have to spin up the white to go with the brown. And figure out how to warp the tapestry loom.

This next photo shows the mostly ok-ness of the plying (and probably spinning) but also much better represents the color. I gotta learn how to make my photos match reality better.
I do need to work on my spinning and my plying more though. I'd like to do a better job. Plus I have all that fiber all over the place that needs to get spun up.

I also, thanks to all the trips all over town, managed to finish a pair of socks. An easy pair but still. It's handknit socks! Again for me. Hmmm, now I'm starting to worry that I am too selfish or something.

Pattern: Wendy's Toe Up Gusset Heel Sportweight Socks (direct link to PDF)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Icehouse, also bought from The Loopy Ewe
Mods: I added a few purl stitches to contour the sock a bit but actually I think plain stockinette might work better. Next pair I'll try that. I also found them to be a perfect fit for my clogs but a little bit loose in my tennies. So I think I'll also try another pattern, or even my own, using some additional stitches and doing a ribbed foot and leg for a pair to wear with tennies. In the fullness of time of course. I've still got two other sock patterns on the needles and three sock kits from the Rockin' Sock Club that I still haven't started.

I have also managed to resurrect a UFO and have finished one of the pair of Fetching mitts from Knitty. I had set them aside last spring when it got too warm to need them. But now it's cooling off around here so I got them back out and started working. But I won't blog it properly until they are both done because so far I think maybe the one I did finish is too short so I'm going to try adding a cable and ribbing section before the bind off of the second one and see which I like better.