Friday, September 30, 2011

WIP: Pavo Sock & Church Mittens

 I've been working on finishing up an old project, and also starting a new, but long planned project. The old WIP is my Pavo socks. I just finished turning the heel this evening and only have a short cuff to do and then I can bind off. I'm so excited to have these socks done so that I can start wearing them! With the coming of autumns chilly days I'm really wishing I had more hand knit socks!

 The new project is my Church Mittens. I'm using the pattern "Winter Sky Slip Stitch Mittens" from the Spin Off magazine, Summer 2009. Back around February or so I decided to spin up this lovely Polworth/angora roving into the Main colour for my mittens. The green-blue roving is Corriedale wool that I hand-painted last summer. This is the secondary colour in my mittens.

I had four ounces of my Polworth. I purchased this last fall and as winter is fast approaching I decided I had better get on the ball and finish the spinning so I could start the knitting. I spun up two ounces last week on my  drop spindle, and I spun the other two ounces yesterday afternoon. It is a worsted weight so spun up and plied very quickly. It dried over night and this morning it was ready to go.

 I did start the mittens last night. This is how far I am as of this evening. So far I have done the Set-up rounds, Cuff, Ribbing, and Hand. Now I am too the thumbhole. It is a quick knit, very easy I think and the slip-stitch colour work is quite interesting. I'm enjoying knitting the mittens, not only because I like the pattern, but also because I love knitting with my own handspun yarn!

These mittens will be perfect for those freezing Sunday mornings when my hands go numb walking from the house to the car. I was planning on them being only for church, but I can see that is not going to be the case. They are working up so warm that I  am sure I will be wearing them practically everywhere I go this winter! The angora was causing the roving to felt slightly so I anticipate my mitts will meld together a little bit and make them all the warmer.
Ah, happy sigh!
 I should go my friends. It is suppertime and there is a delightful smell of chicken soup coming from the kitchen. Have a lovely evening!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finished Object : Chocolate Mint Helix!!!

I completed my Chocolate Mint Helix scarf today! I love the way it looks, the drape,the fit, the warmth..... it is wonderful! Just perfect for those chilly autumn days when there is a cold drizzle and the wind wants to blow down my coat collar. It will be wonderful in the winter as well. Sunday mornings are frigid on our windswept hill. I did take my time knitting it. But I finally decided to just finish it up today, for a few reasons: 
 #1. It's taking me way to long to complete such a simple project.
 #2. It's getting cold and I wanted to wear it.
 #3. I needed the needles for another project. 
All very good reasons to finish it up I though.The Helix scarf is a very easy knit, simply inserting short row wedges along the sides. This was the perfect on-the-go knit as the pattern is so easily memorized and it is a small project so is easy to carry along in one's purse.
The yarn is my own handspun, I spun it on one of my top whorl drop spindles. It was a merino roving that I purchased this summer already dyed up in this colorway. I'm pleased with the yarn and the finished results of the Helix. I'll definitely be starting another one in the near future. As soon as I have some more spare fingering yarn that is! 

Autumn In The Country

Friday, September 23, 2011

And So, Summer Comes To An End.

A couple weeks ago I was helping my sister-in-law pick her garden produce. Things are starting to dwindle down as summer comes to an end. We were picking the last bits of broccoli when I came across this little fellow in one of the broccoli plants. I almost picked him, thinking he was a broccoli floret, until I saw the EYES. He startled me at first, but then I ran in to get my camera. He was very obliging and let me take his photo without getting scared and jumping at me. I had an encounter with a tree frog when I was a little girl, the neighbors found one and were showing me and my brother and the tree frog jumped right into my face. Of course they all thought it was hilarious and looking back it IS rather funny. But ever since I've been a little leery of them being too close to my face, after all who wants a frog clinging to their face?!

Fresh carrots at the farmer's market. You can tell autumn is around the corner when root vegetables and gourds start showing up at the market. I love going bright and early on a Saturday morning with my SIL and browsing through all the fresh produce. The market she frequents has a huge variety of produce, as well as meats, cheese, soap, specialty sea salts, breads and pastries, honey, flowers and coffee.

The flowers were simply amazing, I wanted to take more photos but even at that early hour the crowds are quite thick and sometimes wading through the the press of people to take a picture is not an option. We purchased some giant cockscomb flowers in a bright fuchsia color. They were only $3 for one huge stalk that was a bouquet all on it's own!

After the farmer's market we went down to the river in town to watch the early morning fishing. Along the way the view was so lovely with all the ivy twining through the pines in the early morning sunlight that I couldn't resist a photo. What a marvelous Saturday morning that was!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Let's Start With The Spinning

 I've been spinning up quite a bit of the fiber that I got at the fiber festival.This one is from the sample bag of fiber that I purchased. I sorted out a some of the roving into colours that looked well together and spun it up into this yarn. I have two skeins that come to an approximate total 160 yards. It was a fun yarn to spin as it was comprised of a variety of wools and I had to use different spinning techniques depending on what color I was  doing. I spun it on one of my older top-whorl drop spindles. It is a little bit heavier in weight, but that works very well with a thicker yarn such as this. After spinning I wound off into a center-pull ball and plied the two ends together. It ended up a nicely variegated yarn that should gently stripe when knit up.

 The romney I carded spins up into an absolutely lovely yarn! It has a very sturdy hand to it, I love the way it feels. The romney has an amazing sheen to it as well, almost like it has silk in it. I am so excited to see how this yarn knits up, but I plan on waiting until I get it all carded and spun before I start knitting. I'm enjoying the carding process though, not to mention I have quite a few Christmas projects in process right now, so it might be awhile before this yarn becomes a stole.

 This summer I was given a pound and a half of cream and a pound of grey-black Huacaya alpaca fiber. It was unwashed and a couple years old so I wanted to get it cleaned up yet this summer. I was visiting a friend and she kindly helped me wash up about 3/4 pound of my cream alpaca. We used mesh bags like before only we had twice as many so we were able to wash up the rest of our wool and also the afore mentioned alpaca. The alpaca fiber was quite dirty and dusty, but there was very little veggie matter and since alpaca fiber lacks the lanolin of wool it was much easier to skirt and prep for washing. The above photo is of the alpaca fiber when it was wet and the photo below is after it dried and fluffed up. What a difference, eh?

 I'm trying to get some w.i.p. done and off the needles. These are my Pavo socks, first blogged about here. I'm further than this photo shows. I just finished the gusset and now am at the heel turning. I don't like the bind off that this sock uses, it is to loose and floppy, so I'm going to just do a standard bind off. I would love to be able have a large stash of hand knit socks for this winter. I need to learn how to do two-at-a-time socks as I am rather bad about finishing the second sock.

And lastly, I'll leave you with some hand-painted yarn worked up in a new design. I'm excited to do a photo shoot and show you just what this is!

Friday, September 2, 2011

 Hello there my friends! It's lovely to be back with you again. This week I washed up some of the fiber I purchased recently. It was a grubby fleece from a ram, but it washed up SO beautifully! Above is the dirty locks going into the mesh bag. 

 And here are the washed locks. Aren't they lovely? I was washing fiber with a friend so we each took a mesh bag, picked the fiber, laid the locks in neatly and took them in to the spare kitchen sinks. We did three 20 minute, hot water washes and 2-3 hot water rinses.
I couldn't believe the dirt that was rolling out of these locks! I'm not sure how many ounces we washed, but I made a good sized dent in my pound and a half.

 When I was @ the festival I was looking for a dark brown because I have a Christmas present planned that requires a dark color. So yesterday I took some of my cleaned locks and carded it up, adding angora as I carded. In the above photo you can see the Merino/Dorset/Corriedale washed locks on the left. The angora fiber is above right. And the combined, carded rolags are at the bottom. I've just started spinning it. I'm so pleased with how it is turning out!
 Between fiber washing/rinsing my friend and I sat outside and worked on carding and spinning. There's nothing like good company while working on fiber. :)
 I do have a few other things to show you. I just finished navajo plying my Corriedale in the Tuscany color way. It's 4 ounces total between the two skeins, but I don't have my total yardage yet. And no, I have no idea what I will do with this yarn yet!

 My Romney is waiting to be plied. This is the fiber that I showed you in the previous post. I have quite a few rolags left, not to mention more fiber to card, but my spindle was full so I wound it off as a center-pull and am plying it up. It is such a silvery, oatmeal colour. I'm quite impressed with this fiber!

I'm working on appliqued leaves for my bed quilt. I have four left to baste and then I can applique the vine and leaves onto my quilt. After I do that I will be ready to quilt! I'm quilting by hand, so the sooner I start, the better. I can not wait to show you my quilt once I figure out what quilting patterns I am doing and once I finally get started on the quilting. I sewed it up three summers ago and
 I am getting most anxious to finish it and put it on my bed. Lord willing I'll get it finished in time to use yet this winter.