Sunday, 28 February 2010

My first Sweetheart Sock is off the needles, I love it, but in spite of my best intentions have yet to cast on for the second sock... and now I'm really tempted to start a few new projects that I've been thinking about. I'm sure I'll make this sock a partner, I'm just not sure when.

The other day I mentioned that I wanted to start spinning with a purpose. I think I may have found my first purposeful spinning project. Check this out (Ravelry link). Isn't it just beautiful!? I've just recently discovered Stacie's blog and am so inspired by her spinning. She has many beautiful shawls made from single-ply hand-spun yarn that gently and fluidly shift from one colour to another. For my next spinning project I'm going to aim for something similar. I'll probably use one of these roving's (from Diak Craft):

I think that pretty much any of them could result in a stunning shawl (asuming I can figure out how to spin a single-ply laceweight yarn!)

Friday, 26 February 2010

learning curve

Today, as I was spinning and I'll admit, as I was admiring my spinning and how pretty the roving looked as it was morphing into yarn, I started to think about how much I've improved as a spinner and how great that feels! I thought that it might be nice to take a little stroll down memory lane and look back at some of my earlier spinning.

I spun these singles back in May when I first got my spinning wheel.... ouch.

I got a bit better by this next attempt. I wasn't exactly in control of what I was doing yet, but it was getting a bit more even.

I thought that I had gotten pretty good when I spun this in November. I still think that it's pretty, just not quite as perfect as I once thought.

Same goes for this, I love the colours, and I spun it only a month ago, but notice how it's so unevenly wound unto the bobbin?

This is where I'm at in my spinning of the Crabby McCrabbypants roving. I'm about half way through spinning the second portion (of three) into singles. Forgive the photo, I always take my photo's during the day to use take advantage of the natural light, but I just loved how the colours were winding onto the bobbin so much that I had to get a shot of it before I continued. Aren't the colours gorgeous!? The spinning is much more even and consistent.

Pretty soon I'll be able to really plan out my spinning more deliberately. Now I just spin and then make plans for the resulting yarn later, but I hope to start spinning for a specific project and make yarn purposefully. Not that I don't love having random skeins of hand-spun laying around, and I love knitting those adorable baby jackets, but I have dreams of knitting a colourful yoke for a sweater for myself someday.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

weekend work

I'm still plugging away at my Sweetheart socks. I'll finish the first one today then I'll try and make sure to at least cast on for the second one right away. I fear that if I take too much of a break between socks I'll never drum up the motivation to subject myself to knitting all those teeny-tiny cables on teeny-tiny needles again! I love the pattern, but my hands are a bit sore.

I decided to give my hands the day off from knitting on Sunday and instead spun up the first third of singles from my Crabby McCrabbypants Sheep 2 Shoe roving. Well, it wasn't exactly a day off, I spun roughly 90g of fibers into the thinest singles I could manage, it took me all day! I literally started at around noon and worked on it until late in the evening, only stopping for supper! So worth it though. The colours are beautiful and my singles are indeed very thin, which will hopefully make for an appropriately thin 3-ply when I'm all done.

Last week I spent another full evening not knitting, and instead ripping out a pretty but neglected sweater. It took longer than I thought it would, but after a couple of hours I had rescued well over a thousand yards of lovely soft grey merino/alpaca/silk yarn.

I have no immediate plans for the yarn yet, but I feel much better not having look at the never worn sweater in my closet every time I get dressed in the morning!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Baby Sean's Blanket

My mom did me the honour of knitting my Baby Shane Blanket pattern for a dear friend who was expecting a baby. We knew that she was having a boy (Sean) and I think that mom even knew the colour scheme of her nursery, so after carefully perusing my kit colourways, she decided on the blue to yellow option. Her blanket is very cute and I hear that new baby Sean get's a lot of use out of it!

Mom had enough yarn left over to knit up an adorable little rolled-rim hat. I really love the matching hat/blanket combo, don't you just want to wrap him up in that blanket for some quality snuggling time!? So cute.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Sweetheart Socks

Thanks to everyone who left such nice comments on my post about my new sweater! I should have mentioned it before, but the pattern is Design 16 from Noro Collection Book 3 by Jenny Watson. I've knit two patterns from this book so far. The patterns are really lovely and high-light the gorgeous multicoloured Noro yarns beautifully, but I think that they would be equally nice knit in solid yarns too.

On Valentine's Day, after our huge day of making wedding invitations, I cast on for the Sweetheart Sock.

This pattern is from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007, many people probably bought the issue for the Koolhaas pattern (myself included) but there are many other lovely designs it there! When I saw this pattern I thought that it might be one of the prettiest socks I've ever seen, and now that I'm finally knitting it, I believe that even more. This sock is beautiful.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Surprise FO!

Last week I finally decided to buckle down and finish this sweater! Sooooooo glad that I did!

I started knitting this sweater very enthusiastically on August 11th 2009, by August 20th I had two completed fronts and one almost completed back, then everything went quiet. I don't know what happened, I loved the sweater, loved the colours, I knew that I wanted to shorten the sleeves and that they wouldn't even take that long to knit, yet still, it lay ignored in the basket of forgotten knitting for over 5 months! I couldn't handle the guilt of not finishing such a fun and pretty piece of knitting, so I dug it out and made a vow not to not knit anything else until is was done! It only took a couple of days to knit the sleeves and the button band, then I found the perfect buttons and the rest is history! I wore it both Friday and Saturday to make up for lost time!

I love the details on this sweater, the row of garter stitch between the ribbing of the collar and the smooth knitted fabric of the body, the way the decreases are placed 3 stitches in from the sides and form a crisp line.

The pretty oil-slick buttons that work really well with the colours that fell in the button band.

This sweater used two full skeins of Kureyon Sock in colourway 220. I've knit a sweater in Kureyon before, and I knew that it was going to require a lot of planning to make it look like all those colourful stripes just casually threw themselves onto this cardigan! I find the red and turquoise portions of this colourway are what make it dynamic, but too much red and I felt that it would go from edgy/colourful to silly/clown. So I had to strategically plan where the red would fall. I chose to keep the fronts mainly in the greens to keep the sweater reasonable. Don't get me wrong... I love bright multicoloured Noro yarn! But I wanted to manage the level of brightness for this particular sweater to try and keep it wearable.

The resulting cardigan is perhaps a tad larger than I had planned, but still works really well for layering.

It feels like such an accomplishment to have knit an entire sweater in sock yarn! I'm in love with my sweater.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's day!

Chris and I are spending Valentine's Day cutting, glueing, folding and stuffing... we're making our wedding invitations!

When all the recipients have received their invites I'll post a detailed shot of what we've made here on the blog. I don't think I'm giving too much away by showing you that they're blue... was there really ever any question!?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

colourful roving

When I get an idea in my head I sometimes have a tendency to get a little bit obsessed with it and perhaps go a tad overboard... I think that I may be overdoing it with my newfound obsession with multicoloured rovings. Some call it stash enhancement, but I prefer to call it research and development. Now that I have my own hand dyeing business the only way that I justify purchasing large amounts of other peoples hand-dyes* is to say that it's all in the interest of growth! So, because I'm so reasonable and business minded and market research is a big part of running a successful business, I've acquired about 2 pounds of multicoloured fluffy roving courtesy of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, because if you want to know a thing or two about multi's, BMFA is one of the first places to look.

Crabby McCrabbypants, Chapman Springs and Fire on the Mountain.

I think that I'm going to branch out and try to spin a 3 ply out of Crabby McCrabbypants. I've already got it all bundled up into three almost even balls to work from.

*I feel like I should add that just because I make my own yarn, doesn't in any way diminish the pleasure that I get from other peoples hand-dyes, I have tons of great hand-dyed yarns in my stash! Since I've started my own company and started blogging people have asked me why I blog about projects that I knit with other company's yarns and why I don't focus all of my attention on my own yarns... and well, that would just be boring! Before I was a hand-dyer, I was a knitter. I still am a knitter and I plan on continuing to knit with as many yarns in as many colours as I can for as long as I can knit! And though this blog does talk about TFA happenings and updates, it's not just my company blog, it's my personal knitting/crafting journal, so I'll blog about whatever I'm playing with at any given moment, be it dyed by me or not. Sure I knit with my own stuff a lot, because I happen to really like it, but I'll never limit myself when it comes to knitting and choosing yarns. There's my two cents about that!

Monday, 8 February 2010

embossed leaves socks

I finished my Embossed Leaves socks the other day. Forgive me for totally stating the obvious, but lately I've been knitting on mostly only one thing at a time, and it's shocking how fast I am finishing things! Typically I'll have multiple projects going at once and only sit down with a sock in progress when I don't have much knitting time available or when I need something portable, I rarely cast on a sock and then work on it exclusively. I guess my habits have changed a little bit, I knit three pairs of socks last month!

This pattern is very pretty. I love how the leaves seem to grow out of one another. I also love a twisted rib cuff, so sharp and crisp.

I'm still feeling a little under the weather, and though I feel like I should be casting on for a bigger more complicated project like a sweater, I just don't think I have the brain power right now so I think I'll start another pair of socks!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Another hand-spun BSJ

I finished my second hand-spun BSJ, this time in my own hand dyed roving in the Meadow colourway. Still no buttons, I'll have to make a trip to the button store soon...

I wish I had a friend who was having twins, one boy and one girl, so I could give them these little sweaters. They would be so cute! Until I find the perfect set of boy/girl twin babies to gift these sweaters too, I'll just hang on to them for safe keeping.

Thanks to everyone who left comments/thoughts about a sock club on my last post. I've been doing a lot of thinking/scheming and I hope to have something to present to you later on this week. I was hoping to have it all set by the end of this weekend, but Chris and I have both been flattened by a pesky cold. Nothing too serious, just coughing and stuffed up, but it was enough to send us both to bed for a 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon and keep us from doing anything productive. I'm feeling good about today, I think we're on the mend!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Works In Progress

I just couldn't help myself. Pretty much as soon as this skein was dry I cast on for another hand-spun BSJ. I'm totally in love with it. I keep holding it up to Chris and saying "isn't this cool?" he nods in agreement (which is just one of the reasons I know for sure that he loves me, he pretends to think that my hand-spun is cool.) I love this little piece of knitting so much that it has convinced me that I need to offer up my rovings dyed in multi's, so as soon as I get on top of my orders I'm going to set some time aside to dye up tons of multicoloured rovings, they're just too much fun to spin and knit with!

WIP #2:

I'm knitting another lovely pattern from my favorite sock book. It's the Embossed Leaves sock from Interweave Favorite Socks knit in my Mallard colourway. Lovely, no?

I've got a couple other projects stewing around in my brain just waiting to come to fruition. I've got 2 new yarns coming out this Spring, one of which I've been teasing you with for a while and I'm told that I should have it by the end of the month! Can't wait! The second yarn is still a surprise but I'm sure that you are all going to love it! I'm working on new colour recipes, and planning on saying goodbye to a couple of my current colours. I'll be sad to see them go, and I haven't decided exactly which colours are leaving yet, but when I do I'll give them a proper farewell on the blog.

Another really big project that I'm working on is putting together a sock yarn of the month club. What do you think? Is this something that people would be interested in? I've gotten a couple of e-mails from keen knitters asking that I do something like this. The thing is, I wouldn't be able to supply a pattern for every months shipment because I'm only one person and I'm just not that good, but I could dye a custom club colourway every month, sometimes multi's and sometimes tonal's, I could do them in a couple of bases (hint, my other new yarn base is a fingering weight yarn!) and I could offer it as a yearly 12 month membership, or an every-other-month 6 month membership... Thoughts? Feedback? A club is something that I've been wanting to do for a while now, so I hope that you guys think that it's a good idea too!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Mom's birthday socks

Mom's birthday was on Jan. 27th, I finished her socks on Jan. 29th and had them gifted to her by Feb. 1st. Not bad as far as knitted gifts go!

Here are the Waving Lace socks in all their glory:

I definitely will be knitting this pattern again. It's pretty and simple and shows off tonal yarns beautifully. It's also a very relaxing knit, I really got into the flow of the pattern and found the whole process very enjoyable.